1958 to 1970
The activities of “Coral da Universidade Federal do Ceará” (Choir of the Federal University of Ceara) began in the second half of 1958, only three years after the university itself had been founded. Known then as “Madrigal da Universidade do Ceará” (University of Ceara Madrigal), it was founded by professor Orlando Vieira Leite. The "recital de batismo" (inaugural recital) took place in April 1959, in the city of Sobral, located in the state of Ceará, when the group was invited to take part in the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of “Colégio Santana” singing a Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina mass and some Brazilian songs. The University Madrigal performances were frequent in the city agenda, as well as in the academic environment, in student and professor's recitals. In July, 1964, the group was on tour to many southern Brazilian cities, performing in radio, theater and television, showing the Brazilian Northeastern choir singing. In September 1965, Invited by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Itamaraty Palace, the University Madrigal represented Brazil in the II America's Choir Meeting in the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso in Chile. With the slogan “Sing more and better to increasing audiences”, the Madrigal participated in many choir meetings in the North and Northeast regions of the country.
1973 to 1980
From 1973 on, the group was known as “Coral da Universidade do Ceará” (University of Ceara Choir), being conducted by professor Katie de Albuquerque Lage who promoted the Choir reopening at the University's student graduation ceremony in December 20th, 1973. With a different approach, two thirds of the choir members were university students. The choir sang in many events, university ceremonies and in the University's Institute of German Languages, which became a strong ally which encouraged and supported the group activities. In November 1977, through the interchange between the university and Goeth Institute, the Choir of the Federal University of Ceara made a concert at José de Alencar Theater, in Fortaleza, along with the Bonn's Collegium Musicum Student Orquestra. Katie Lage's work at the Choir of the Federal University of Ceara was not limited to recitals, it also supported their musical education by means of musicalization workshops.
1981 to 1989
In 1981, Professor Maria Izaíra Silvino Moraes became the Choir of the Federal University of Ceara's conductor. Since then, the group began to introduce Brazilian popular culture in their choir singing. In May 1981, the choir made the first recital under her command, with a repertoire full of Cariri (a region in the countryside of Ceara) folk songs, composed by Ceara and Brazil musicians. The idea of the choir was to reach the universal by means of the regional. In order to accomplish this, Izaíra Silvino introduced several changes in the choir singers' repertoire, scenic posture, vocal and body attitudes. The vocal guidance was under the responsibility of Professor Leilah Carvalho Costa (Federal University Professor and ex-member of the University of Ceara Madrigal). New popular Brazilian music arrangements were made by Professor Tarcísio José de Lima specially for the choir. The recitals presented didn't follow the conventional models anymore. They became big shows with specific an elaborate themes, most of the times, about social and regional affairs. In addition to the recitals seasons, the choir continued to do some activities implemented by previous conductors, like the presentations inside the university. Another great initiative created by the Federal University of Ceara Choir was the Project of Choir Multiplications which consisted in weekly meetings with the choir members who were interested in conducting some singing activity in Fortaleza's schools. In 1988, the choir represented Ceara in the XII Jornal do Brasil National Choir Contest in Rio de Janeiro, being qualified to the finals. The concept of choir developed by Izaíra Silvino, both in esthetics and content, promoted a discussion about the social and educational role of the choir and its conductor.
1992 to 1995
In 1992, by means of an expansion program of artistic activities in the Faculty of Education, professor Francisco José Colares de Paula, took over the choir's conduction. The group started singing again in May 1992, in a recital to the Dean-in-office in the Rectory lounge. During the whole period in which the choir was under the direction of Professor José Colares, the choir made several performances both at the University as well as in different parts of Fortaleza. They took part in many choir meetings in the city and performed in Charity and Christmas events.
In the mid 90's, the University's Bureau of Extension and Cultural Activities, implemented, as an extension project, a musical training course with the objective of institutionalizing the musical activities developed at the university. The focus was mainly the choir practice, which, at that time consisted of nine choirs in full operation tied directly to the University, among them, the Federal University of Ceara Choir. The Music Extension Course (MEC) was created with half of the curriculum dedicated to practical disciplines, among them, Choir Practice. In 1999, after four years of activities, MEC went through a curriculum change and Choir Practice and Choir Conducting classes became the responsibility of Professor Erwin Schrader and Professor Elvis de Azevedo Matos. The Professors felt the need to recreate the group which would represent MEC student's artistic production. They took over the choir establishing a direct link between learning and making art. The first presentation under the new conductors took place in June 1999, at the IBEU-Centro Choir Meeting.
Currently, the Federal University of Ceara Choir, under Professor Erwin Schrader's conducting, is linked to the University's Artistic Culture Bureau and to the Music Undergraduation Course – music teaching course from the Institute of Culture and Art/Federal University of Ceara. The group can also rely on the collaboration of Professor Gerardo Viana Junior (Vocal Guidance) and Professor Elvis de Azevedo Matos who also plays the role of artistic director, composer and assistant conductor.
Since the beginning of the 1980's, the group dedicated itself to the research and to the construction of a Brazilian repertoire exploring the show's theatrical possibilities. They were:
Porque o Canto Existe (Why Singing Exists) – 1982
Os três tempos do Homem (The Three Times of Men) – 1983
Nordestino, Somos (Northeastern, We are) – 1984 / 1985 / 1986
O Som das luzes coloridas (The Sound of Colorful Lights) – 1987
Além do Cansaço (Beyond Fatigue) – 1989
A vida é só pra cantar (Life is Made for Singing) – 2002
Nós e o Mar (Us and the Sea) – 2003
Borandá Brasil – 2004 / 2005
Gonzagas – 2006 / 2007
Abraços (Embraces) – 2009 / 2010
Borandá Brasil (rerun) – 2010 / 2011
Menino (Boy) – 2013/2014
Since its creation, the Federal University of Ceara Choir has been an international reference to Brazilian choir singing. This reputation became solid recently because of the shows, “Borandá Brasil” and “Gonzagas”, both of which had great repercussion outside the country because of choir interchanges established with European groups between 2005 and 2008. There were presentations in Poland theaters (Warsow and Szczecin), Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Cologne e Neulingen) and France (Paris e Aurillac). Recently, in 2011, there was an interchange with Australian undergraduates, making presentations possible in theaters and cultural centers in Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Sidney.
As a non-profitable musical group, Coral da UFC promotes the development of young undergraduates, university workers and people in general, with the conviction that musical education is one of the primary competences in the consolidation of human values and of new ideas capable of building a better world.
Music formation in brazil has not yet been able to reach every part of the brazilian population. We're not referring to the kind of musical formation that feeds the cultural industry which certainly defines tastes and builds audience for it's products. We understand music formation as an ongoing process of building the capacity to appreciate and think musically. And we firmly believe that this kind of knowledge must reach the less fortunate people, economically speaking.
Coral da Universidade Federal do Ceará, commited to the spread of musical knowledge and with the belief that the individualistic logic of our contemporary times must be overcomed, seeks to:
a) Develop aspects that expand the expressive capacity (vocal and corporal) of its members.
b) Educate new leaders (conductors and vocal guides) for the musical scene in Ceará.
c) Broaden the public who attend to vocal music presentations and spectacles.
In order to achieve these goals, Coral da UFC encourages its members to build the vocal and theatrical spectacle together. In the everyday preparation of the show, we discuss theme, repertoir, scenery, clothing and acessories as well as we elaborate corporal and theatral possibilities. The intense involvement of every single member in the process of bringing in a spectacle is part of the musical formation agenda, main goal of the educational purpose of the choir.
The production of the spectacle involves the 37 singers who play a collective role in an essentially solidary manner, in the presentation season, such experience has the goal to reach an audience that is also part of the learning process that makes the whole work worthwhile.
In a state like Ceará, in which there is not a musical education tradition, there are fertile grounds to the experimentation of new expressive and educational possibilities. Coral da UFC tries not only to reach the aesthetical product, but to reflect upon itself, with the intent of contributing to the systematization of knowledges that put the art in the center of human formation processes, emphasising in the collective and cooperative way that is inherent of choir singing.