Real Men Sing Festival inspires 700 young men

Guest clinician Dr. Rollo Dillworth of Temple University, leads high school choral students in a singing exercise in the Concert Hall at Fresno State for the 14th annual Real Men Sing, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. The men’s choir festival drew over 700 Central Valley students to campus for the two-day event. (Darlene Wendels, The Collegian

More than 700 young men came to sing together for the 14th annual Real Men Sing Festival on Thursday and Friday at Fresno State.

Around 300 middle school students from the Clovis and Fresno area opened the event.  It began at 9 a.m. with rehearsals and ended around noon with all of the men performing in front of the music building.

Chevy Clements, a member of the Fresno State Concert Choir, said he was inspired to join because of the shared love for music.

“It’s really great, honestly being able to share music with so many people. You don’t really see a lot of male choirs around singing,” Clements said.

The group on Friday comprised 475 high school students along with 36 Fresno State choir members.

Anna Hamre, director of choral activities, said Real Men Sing originally began in order to give male students an opportunity to sing.

“We started 14 years ago because there were so few men back then singing in schools and we wanted them to know how much fun it is and how rewarding it is to sing,” said Hamre.

Fresno State choir men sang the premier of an original piece by Joungmin Sur called “I yet will carry you.”

“Sometimes people think that singing is not for everybody, but that’s not true,” said Hamre. “Everybody’s musical, everybody sings, everyone should sing. You eat, you breathe, you sing, and that’s what the point of this is.”

Hamre said the event has grown significantly since it first started and as a result many hopeful participants are turned away each year. Its success has inspired similar events in Visalia, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Modesto and San Jose, she added.

Jose Hernandez, a choir member, said the camaraderie of the event inspired him to join.

“I have a really strong passion for music. I figured sharing it with others who have the same passion would be an awesome experience to be a part of,” Hernandez said.

The conductor for the event was Rollo Dilworth.

“[Dilworth’s] a huge name as a choir conductor and the guys will find him very inspiring,” Hamre said.

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