Exploring the Indiana University campus in Bloomington when he first arrived earlier this fall, Levi Croquart was looking for a musical outlet.
He had been involved in band and choir while a student at Seymour High School, and he wasn’t quite ready to stray away from music.
One day, the 19-year-old came across an audition poster for a group called Singing Hoosiers.
“My first thought was that I wouldn’t get in, so I didn’t go to the auditions that day,” Croquart said.
Once a friend, Jayke Frederick, told him he was trying out on the last day to do so, Croquart wound up going. He, however, didn’t have an audition song ready.
He had about 45 minutes to come up with a song after scheduling his audition, so he chose “The Scientist” by Coldplay and accompanied himself.
“The audition itself was quite daunting because I didn’t know what I was going to be expected to know, but as soon as I met Dr. Chris Albanese (the director) for the first time, I knew there was no reason to be worried,” Croquart said. “Dr. Albanese was very welcoming and guided me through the process and said that I’d get a callback audition if I was considered to join the ensemble.”
After he got the callback and email saying he was accepted, Croquart said he was super excited to share it with friends and family.
Singing Hoosiers has served as IU’s ambassadors of song since 1950. The group averages 95 people in the ensemble and has everyone from freshmen to fifth-year students.
This year, Croquart said there are 90 students in the group, which is divided into 30 sopranos, 26 altos, 20 tenors and 14 basses.
Since starting with the group, Croquart said he attended daily hourlong rehearsals to learn the set list for the recent fall concert. The Singing Hoosiers also had a professional weekend to learn the dance numbers for the songs and learn the rest of its repertoire. Each rehearsal that weekend was 10 to 11 hours long, he said.
The concert was made up of “Indiana Opener,” “Opening Up” from the Broadway musical “Waitress,” “The Physician,” “The Shape of Things” and “The Masquerade is Over,” arranged by Blake Morgan of Voces8 specifically for the Singing Hoosiers. Croquart previously met Morgan when Seymour High School’s Varsity Chorale performed “Caledonia,” which also was arranged by him.
Other songs at the concert were “Proud Mary,” “Love is a Sickness,” “Nigra Sum,” “How to Sing Like a Planet,” “Walking on Sunshine” and “You Learn.”
Croquart said the rest of this year will be a great but busy time for the group due to roadshows and other concerts, including the annual Chimes of Christmas concert Dec. 4.
“Christmas is the best season for music,” he said.
After that, the Singing Hoosiers will prepare for the spring concert March 26.
Beyond this school year, Croquart said he plans to audition and continue with the Singing Hoosiers until he graduates.
”Any student coming into college, specifically IU Bloomington, should come and join the family,” he said. “It will help you further your musical education and take you to places you can only dream of.”
The Singing Hoosiers is comprised of students within the Jacobs School of Music and more than 20 different majors across campus, according to blogs.iu.edu/jsomchoral/singing-hoosiers.
Croquart is majoring in drawing and illustration at IU.
He began there this fall with a background in music. While he admits music in high school was uncomfortable at first because he didn’t know how to read music, Croquart said SHS Choral Director Kyle Karum and SHS Director of Bands Kevin Cottrill played a big part in putting him on the right track.
He was in Men’s Choir his freshman year and Varsity Chorale the next three years. He also was in the jazz band his sophomore year and the beginning of his senior year.
When he was able to read sheet music his sophomore year, Croquart said he was invited to join a group called Groovy Shutters, which was named after SHS accompanist Karla Shutters. The group originally was comprised of Kelsey Baker, Derick Sowers, Sam Schmidt, Liam Combs, Leah Desender, Harrison Cottrill, Jami Nobbe, Madison Brackemyre and Croquart.
“After being in the group for a while, I realized for the first time how strong bonds can be made by music,” Croquart said. “Groovy Shutters was one of the highlights of my high school career.”
He now considers himself fortunate to be a part of the Singing Hoosiers, which since its founding has entertained audiences across the United States and in more than 25 countries and been nominated for a Grammy.