The choral conductor on quest to heal and unify the Muhlenberg community

Muhlenberg College welcomes a new choral conductor for the new semester

Photo from @nevitonbarros on Instagram

Beginning this fall, Nèviton Barros, Ph.D., has taken on the role of conductor for Muhlenberg’s college choir and adjunct professor. 

Barros holds a degree in voice performance from the Escola de Música de Brasília and a Bachelor of Music from the Universidade de Brasília. In 2014, he began his studies at Hunter College, and in 2016 he earned a Master of Arts with specialisation in conducting. In 2018 Barros entered Louisiana State University to earn his Doctorate of Musical Arts. He majored in choral studies with a minor in Vocal Pedagogy before graduating in May, 2021. 

When asked about any potential changes he wished to make to the program, Barros stated, “I wouldn’t say I am making changes… [With] the world situation with COVID and other political and social justice issues we are having, I believe [what] our students need, not only from choir but from every class, is to learn how to become better human beings and to heal.”

“Choir is the equaliser of all the performance art.”

Nèviton Barros, PhD

Barros hopes to provide every student with an opportunity to heal and feel safe; he wishes to use the power of music to help each student become better citizens and kinder human beings. Barros is committed to the idea of healing. His vision for the program is largely spiritual, and he looks  to use the power of music to repair this raging and exhausted world. 

Barros shared, “I believe that among art, music is the one which helps human beings to develop to their maximum potential.” 

After a brief pause, he again lifted his voice and said, “Choir is the equaliser of all the performance art.” He pointed out that financial restraints are one of the biggest problems that stop many students who have interest in performing arts. The cost of instruments is just too great to even consider for many families; with choir, there is no instrument required, which naturally makes it more accessible. Barros also believes that choir has the power to unify a community. He says, “You will learn how to sing as a collective, which is so powerful.” 

This semester, Barros will also provide the students with opportunities to explore other cultures. The choir will perform songs in Zulu, French and more. “I believe, in choir, the students are exposed to so many different cultures.” The choir will only have two meetings a week on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00-6:30 p.m. A flexible schedule will make sure this program will be accessible to the vast majority of the student population.

“Every rehearsal, we will not only be going to learn how to make music, we are learning more about ourselves and society and about different cultures. We are creating a sense of community. You are making connections for your whole life, it is a triple win!” stated Barros.

“At the first rehearsal, we filled out ‘getting to know you’ sheets where we answered a set of questions,” said Joe Grisanzio ‘23, a member of the college choir. “Since then we’ve been able to learn so much about each other.”

Barros is on a quest to heal and unify all the community members through the power of music, and he stated repeatedly that all are welcome to participate in the choir, and to take this opportunity to heal. With a great amount of kindness Barros even invited the interviewer to join the choir but with minimum amount of self awareness the interviewer has declined the offer, with a voice like Donald Duck, his appearance in this program will be disastrous.

“Every rehearsal, we will not only be going to learn how to make music, we are learning more about ourselves and society and about different cultures.”

Nèviton Barros, PhD

Barros shared, “My dream would be that the whole college will be singing choir—students, professors, people who work on the campus—it is a way where you have a chance to meet everybody regardless of their social backgrounds or their gender identities or gender expressions. In the choir we are all one and we are all equal.” 


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