Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Vantage Points: CASSH Blog | University of West Florida
Skip to main content

The UWF Singers stand out with Brahms "Requiem"

March 26, 2020 | Brandy Gottlieb |

Singers Concert Performance
March 5, the UWF Singers performed Brahms "Requiem" in anticipation of the honored event.

Under the leadership of Dr. Peter Steenblik, UWF associate professor of music and director of choral activities, the UWF Singers have been gaining prominent recognition.

At the invitation of the American Choral Directors Association the UWF Singers participated in the 2020 Southern Region’s Conference President’s Conference, March 10-12. The conference drew participants to Mobile, Alabama from the U.S. South, to include schools as far as West Virginia.  

In addition to UWF students, the President’s Concert performance featured singers from  the University of Georgia, the University of Memphis, the University of South Alabama and the Montgomery Chorale. 

“In our 50-year history, this was the first invitation the UWF Singers have received to participate at a convention on a regional or national level,” Steenblik stated. Steenblik shared that this type of participation was a five-year goal for faculty and students. “It is with tremendous pride that we were able to reach that goal.”

“It is with tremendous pride that we were able to reach that goal.”       - Dr. Peter Steenblik

Dr. Eric Nelson, conductor of the Atlanta Master Chorale and professor at Emory University conducted Brahms "Requiem," accompanied by the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, in what Steenblik called “a 75-minute marathon-sing.” 

According to Steenblik, performers invested a culmination of six months of additional preparatory requirements and increased physical and mental demands. However, he indicated that the actual preparation was a years-long process initiated through the type of works the group has prepared in concert over the last few years. 

“What I loved most was watching each student, guarded as we are, learn to let go and "fall in love" with Brahms,” Steenblik recalled.  

Melissa Watson is pursuing a BA in Exceptional Student Education. Watson said that this experience has helped her grow vocally and mentally. “Being  in the UWF Singers has helped me realize how much of an impact music has on our lives.” 

“Being in the UWF Singers has helped me realize how much of an impact music has on our lives.” - Melissa Watson

Watson plans on graduating in 2022 and will continue her participation with the UWF Singers. 

Photo: UWF Singers, 2020, Courtesy of Melissa Watson

For the UWF Singers, Steenblik noted that this appearance has added notoriety to UWF’s program in both the state and region, with more than 1,000  choir directors in the audience. According to Steenblik, the appearance has marked a maturity of the program that will be noticed.

“Other collegiate directors throughout our state and region now know that, while we are an undergraduate-only program, we have the ability to play in the ‘big league.’ This performance will have impacts unmeasured, and exciting.”

March 5, the UWF Singers performed Brahms "Requiem" in anticipation of the honored performance. "Movement One," from "Requiem," can be viewed online, along with clips from the entire  performance. 

Given the current environment affected by COVID-19,  the program has made adjustments to its Spring 2020 schedule. 

For more information on the UWF Singers or upcoming fall performances,  visit the singers online, or contact Dr. Peter Steenblik at