A New Nazareth College Choir Spreads Inclusiveness through Music

Published December 01, 2017

"Many voices, one mission." That is the mantra of the Everybuddies, a new Nazareth College inclusive choir that currently has 17 members: eight buddies (students with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and nine Nazareth students. The choir is part of the Best Buddies program, which is in its second year at Nazareth, and focuses on promoting diversity, inclusion, and friendship, values that align with the College's overall mission. The success of the club is evident as it was recently awarded the Most Outstanding College Chapter in New York at the International Best Buddies Leadership Conference this past summer.

"The most rewarding part of leading the Everybuddies for us is definitely watching these students succeed," said Julianne Agee, a music education student and co-director of the Everybuddies. Agee and Natalie Tyce, directors of the choir, teamed up with the Best Buddies Club president, Jaxon Smith, who is also a Nazareth student, to create the Everybuddies this year. The trio saw the choir as a chance to share the message of inclusiveness through music.

Julianne recalls the poignancy of watching her choir overcome nerves and stage fright to put on an amazing performance in front of 500 people at a recent concert at RIT where the group opened for an acapella group. "Many of our members were not able to be in choirs in high school, so this is a completely new experience for them. Watching them up on stage was an incredibly rewarding experience."

Members of the Best Buddies program seem to agree. "The choir is fun, I've made tons of friends, and I love singing," said Alex Aquino, member of the Everybuddies. "I never thought I could sing a solo in front of everybody." That is what this choir is about, providing opportunities and bringing people together.

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Watch Everybuddies Performance

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,200 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.