By Bria Isaacson, Staff Writer

The Asbury University Women’s Choir has grown from 19 to 84 women in the span of two years, according to Jill Campbell, the director of the Women’s Choir.

Such an increase, according to Campbell, shows that “campus women needed an outlet where they could be expressive, authentic, and enjoy each other’s company,” she said. “The women … crave a place to express their love for the Lord in a safe, open, and diverse place.”

Creating this place has been Campbell’s goal since she joined Asbury University’s Music Department in the fall of 2013.

Though this may be one reason for the increase, many members, including junior Allison Hensley, joined because of a simple love of singing and desire to have fun under Campbell’s leadership

When Hensley joined spring of 2014, she thinks there were about 60 women in Women’s Choir.

Hensley said, “I think it’s grown so much recently because of Professor Campbell. She is an amazing leader and truly cares about us. She has so much passion for what she does and so much character.”

Senior Caleigh Smith agrees that Campbell is the reason for the growth.

“I was in Women’s Choir for part of my freshman year. First day, first semester, there were about a dozen of us. The professor wanted us to sight sing, but I didn’t know how. It was overwhelming,” Smith said.

She ended up dropping Women’s Choir then and rejoined spring semester of her junior year.

“There’s a huge difference between then and now,” Smith said. “[Now] people don’t need to know everything about music … Campbell realizes that everyone is at a different level musically, but helps everyone improve. She encourages everyone to use their voices for their Lord.”

Regardless of the reason for growth, the size of the choir has allowed Campbell to integrate more challenging music, as well as to expand their concert season to include singing at a local church every semester.

Such a large increase in a short period of time has presented a few challenges for the Music Department. Not only has the department had to offer two sections of Women’s Choir (due to the lack of space to teach the whole choir at the same time) but it also had to raise money to pay for additional costs.

According to Campbell, these additional costs include more risers for performances and more music. But Campbell says it’s more than worth it.

“I love these girls so much and it really blesses my heart to get to work with them each week,” she said. “The sad part for me is that we don’t rehearse daily.”