Someone arrived at the Google College Rankings today by searching the web for “college choir rankings.” People have a tremendous urge to rank everything, don’t they? That’s one of the things that makes Google so appealing to people in so many ways.
What can our favorite search engine tell us about the best college choirs and university choirs in the United States? Well, that depends a bit on how we search—on the phrases “college choir” and “university choir” or on the separate words college choir and university choir. But the results of the two different approaches are not all that different, so let’s try the phrase method. The top-ranking college choirs under such a search are:
- St. Olaf College Choir
- Northwestern College Choir
- Knox College Choir
- Concordia College Choir
- Roanoke College Choir
- Centenary College Choir
- Dickinson College Choir
- St. Anselm College Choir
- Adrian College Choir
- Wartburg College Choir
And embedded between #3 and #4 in the above list, Google helpfully supplies a video of the choir of Bethany College in West Virginia:
Given the nature of most choral music, it isn’t surprising that a number of these institutions have strong denominational associations or did in the past: St. Olaf College in Minnesota is affiliated with the Lutheran Church, for example, and Knox College in Illinois has historic roots in the Congregational Church.
What about university choirs as opposed to college choirs? Google gives us this top-five ranking:
- Harvard University Choir
- Morgan State University Choir
- Fisk University Choir
- University of the South Choir
- Howard University Choir
Here it’s interesting to see historically black universities strongly represented: Morgan State, Fisk, and Howard. Both lists demonstrate something important: colleges and universities are never one-dimensional, nor can an overall one-dimensional ranking system—from highest to lowest—ever capture all the opportunities that can be found on every campus. Strengths can be found everywhere (and yes, weaknesses can be found everywhere, too).