Dolce, Lehigh University Women’s Ensemble, is a group of students who are dedicated and passionate about singing together in order to explore the wealth of choral music written especially for women’s voices. These members are selected from the University Choir and consist of a variety of majors, including music.
The history of Dolce is closely connected to the history of women at Lehigh. The first female undergraduates were admitted to Lehigh in 1971, and with that, a new women’s chorus formed. The Chamber Singers, or “Bidlack’s Brigade,” as they were eventually known, became an active force on campus as well as off, regularly joining with men’s glee clubs from other universities. In 1979, the group was disbanded in order to join with the Lehigh University Glee Club to form what is today known as the University Choir.
After an almost 30-year absence, Dolce has revived the women’s chorus tradition in the Lehigh Choral Arts program. Founded in 2007 by the women of the University Choir and first director Deborah Field, Dolce has already established itself through its charming and excellent performances. In its short history, Dolce has begun to amass repertoire ranging from Medieval/Renaissance to contemporary choral works. Dolce has performed in most Lehigh Choral Arts concerts including the annual Christmas Vespers and various campus-wide events. Under Ms. Lee’s direction, Dolce toured to Hawaii and Northern Italy, performing at numerous historical sites. Dolce has appeared in various events on campus including the 40th anniversary of Women at Lehigh dinner, the “Take Back the Night”, the Gender Equity banquet, the Women’s Center Scholarship Dinner, Lehigh-Laffappella Concert and Lehigh’s Sesquicentennial Celebration last fall. Performing a wide variety of repertoire from a cappella songs to extended works with orchestra, Dolce made its debut with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, joining forces with the Moravian College Women’s Choir to sing Fauré’s Messe des pêcheurs de Villerville. Dolcehas been invited to perform at local venues such as Kirkland Village, St. Anne’s Church, and Fritz Memorial United Methodist Church. In spring of 2015, Dolce started a new tradition at Lehigh University, with Dolce and the Lehigh University’s Women’s Center co-hosting the first annual Lehigh Women Gala Concert in February with huge success. Last year, Dolce celebrated its 10th anniversary and 45 years of Women at Lehigh University. This yearlong celebration included numerous performances featuring choral works by women composers as well as composers from Lehigh University. Some of the highlights of last season included performances of newly commissioned pieces written for Dolce by Reena Esmail, Casey Rule, Andrey Stolyarov, Genevieve Shafer, and Steven Sametz. Dolce finished their celebration with the Lehigh University Choral Arts concert tour to Spain last May.