Exploring the arts at Wake Forest

Wake Forest offers avenues to discover and engage with creative endeavors


Aine Pierre, News Editor

Wake Forest is known for three things: sports, parties and academics. However, there are quite a few hidden gems that make this university special, including the quality and diversity of its music programs.

While all Wake Forest students are required to take a class in the arts (Division 3 on the course checklist), unfortunately, none of the extracurricular arts programs fulfill that requirement (not even courses like choir, a one-credit course in the Music Department). However, involvement in arts beyond the classroom can be incredibly rewarding and grounding, so it’s advisable to do it anyway. The following is just a sampling of the many ways to get involved in music on campus.

The music scene at Wake Forest is one of the most underrated parts of the Demon Deacon experience. There are a myriad of ways to get involved in the music program, regardless of musical talent.

For those passionate about singing, the Wake Forest choirs are a great place to start. The Wake Forest choir program is currently bifurcated, with a general, anyone-can-join choir that meets twice a week (Concert Choir) and an audition choir that meets four times a week (Chamber Choir). The choirs are under the direction of Dr. Christopher Gilliam, who is entering his second year at Wake Forest.

“​​There are many students at Wake who were once valuable members of their high school choirs, who know what it is to have fun while making music and singing with like-minded peers and friends,” Gilliam told the Old Gold & Black last April. “My hope is that they come back to choir.”

Singers who are more advanced in their careers can also audition for one of Wake Forest’s many a cappella groups. These groups include a Christian-based girls group (Minor Variation), an all-girls group (Demon Divas), a men’s Christian group (Chi Rho), an all-male group (Plead the Fifth) and  co-ed groups (Melodeacs and Innuendo).

For those looking for something a bit more mobile, SOTOGAB, or the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black (no relation), is a great way to get involved. SOTOGAB is the umbrella term for the university’s pep band and marching band. The bands are open to people of all musical abilities, according to its website. Led by Dr. Timothy Heath, the band performed on ESPN’s College GameDay last year.

“I love SOTOGAB because every single member has such a positive attitude and welcomes every new member with open arms. During my first year, I met some of my best friends through this program,” sophomore Shelby Horth, a trombonist, said. “The band allows everyone the opportunity to be a part of something larger than themselves, and we all uphold great responsibility to represent the Wake Forest community wherever we go; not to mention, every member gets a front-row seat to Wake Forest athletic events!”

Wake Forest also has a strong orchestra program, which, like choir, can be taken for course credit. The orchestra puts on multiple concerts a year, and musicians in the orchestra can also play in the pit for stage productions put on by the Departments of Theatre and Dance, per the orchestra website. Wake Forest also has an extracurricular sea shanty orchestra, FolkKnot, which is open to auditions.

“Before I started playing and writing music, I never really had a creative outlet,” sophomore Grey Laney, FolkKnot’s guitarist, said. “FolkKnot has given me that ability to make the type of music I love alongside a bunch of really cool, extremely talented people, and the whole process is extremely gratifying.”

No matter how one chooses to get involved in music at Wake Forest, it is sure to be a rewarding experience.