Mad River Transit Singers
Mad River Transit Singers, directed by Dr. Harley Muilenburg, has been part of the ensemble curriculum of the music department for fifteen years. In that span of time, MRT Singers has performed on campus as well as throughout the community including a televised performance in 1998. MRT Singers has represented Humboldt State University at jazz festivals and state conventions of music educators throughout California. In 1996 MRT was invited by recording artist Bobby McFerrin to perform one of Mr. McFerrin's compositions with him at the Columbia College Vocal Jazz Festival. In 1997, MRT was invited, as a result of a taped audition, to perform at the state California Music Educators Association convention in Sacramento. In 2000, MRT Singers again were selected by audition and did perform at the IAJE International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mad River Transit Singers is an auditioned ensemble of 14 singers. The ensemble is designed to provide talented singers the opportunity to sing music from the vocal jazz genre. Exposing the members of MRT to the widest variety, latitude, and definition of vocal jazz is a primary objective. MRT works toward the development of the ear and voice to accommodate the uniquely close harmonies and unconventional chordal voicings which help define the genre. At all times, the primary concern is the healthy use of the vocal mechanism, and production of a proper choral product. Training is also given in sound reinforcement and microphone technique, but with singers being ultimately responsible for their own parts without reinforcement, the emphasis is on the microphone as a tool rather than a crutch.
The group performs a wide variety of repertoire, inspired by the talent and music of soloists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, and Harry Connick, Jr., and groups such as Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, Take 6, Sweden's The Real Group, Singers Unlimited, and the King's Singers.