New choir director will bring program to next level

For such a petite woman, Professor Jeanette Hile left some very large shoes to fill after retiring as the director of Seton Hall’s Concert Choir and Vocal Chamber Ensemble after thirty years with the university. However, with an abundance of passion and enthusiasm, her successor, Professor Jason Tramm, has proved to be the perfect candidate to transition SHU’s choral program into a new era.

Tramm has an illustrious repertoire of experience working in the arts. A renowned conductor, Tramm not only held the post of Artistic Director at the New Jersey State Opera, but he can boast of attending the Emmy Awards after the State Opera’s high-definition broadcast of Verdi’s”Requiem” was nominated. Tramm’s career is one of great versatility and acclaim, making him well equipped to bring the choir to new heights.

Working with college students is not something that is new to Tramm, since he has taught on the music faculties of both Rutgers and Drew universities.

Tramm explained that he finds working with college choirs to be a particularly rewarding experience.

“I love the excitement and the energy that working with young voices brings, there’s so much you can do with college voices and their energy is great,” Tramm said.

Singing in a choir is not necessarily the most traditional classroom environment, but there are a lot of things that students can learn about music and themselves from belonging to a choir. Tramm intends to broaden the musical horizons of the singers studying under his direction.

“I love to introduce students to music that they may not know. Sometimes professionals get jaded, but when you introduce students to new concepts or a new composer or a new piece they haven’t sung, it’s amazing to watch their excitement as they learn something new,” Tramm said. “I love to watch the learning process, to watch people get excited about music.”

Despite the adjustment from working at the New Jersey State Opera to Seton Hall, Tramm explains that he is looking forward to working with students again.

“When I finished my doctorate I had to decide if I wanted to go teach at university and I got a couple of positions in different parts of the country, but I wound up staying here to pursue the opera career, Tramm said. “And I kind of put being a college teacher on the back burner, but part of me always missed the interaction with students. I love to teach, I was a high school teacher before I got my doctorate, so teaching’s always been a part of my life and Seton Hall came at a perfect time.”

A new director always has opportunity to add new dimensions to a group and enhance their potential, which is exactly what Tramm intends to do with the Seton Hall choir.

“I see the choir growing in numbers and recognition,” he said. “I see the group singing at a lot of university functions and becoming a vital member of the university. I would love personally to get the touring choir back to touring again and possibly going to concerts, just getting out there and letting the New Jersey community know that Seton Hall has a wonderful choral program.”

After saying a bittersweet goodbye to Professor Hile at this May’s spring concert, the members of the choir seems to be in good hands again.

Professor Tramm and the choir rehearse on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and welcome new members.

Emily Lake can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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