The Penn State University Concert Choir has undertaken numerous overseas tours to countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. Performances throughout the United States have included appearances at premier venues including Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), and the Music Center at Strathmore (Maryland). Recent highlights have included collaborations with the Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize winning composition Anthracite Fields in 2017, and the Rolling Stones at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh in 2015. The Concert Choir has performed at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Performing music from the Renaissance through to the present in its regularly-scheduled campus concerts, recent performances of major choral works have included Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C Minor (“Resurrection”), Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, the Verdi Requiem, Leonard Bernstein's Mass, the Poulenc Gloria and Mozart's Mass in C Minor, K. 427 ("Grand Mass"). The Concert Choir is conducted by Christopher Kiver. Enrollment by audition.
Created in 1991, Essence of Joy sings sacred and secular music from the African and African American choral traditions. Annual University Park events include fall and spring concerts, as well as the "African American Music Festival" (February) and "Our Gift in Song" (December). The choir also regularly collaborates with other Penn State ensembles, including a performance of the Leonard Bernstein Mass in 2013. Involving undergraduate and graduate students from all academic programs at Penn State, Essence of Joy has performed throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Illinois. The choir has been invited to perform for conferences of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (1995, 1997, 2003), the eastern division of the Music Educators National Conference (1997, 2003), the eastern division of the American Choral Directors Association (2002, 2006, 2014, 2017), the national American Choral Directors Association (1999, 2003, 2005, 2011), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2000). In addition, they have presented concerts at the Schomburg Museum of Black American Culture in New York City (1998, 1999, 2001). The choir has released four compact discs: "The Soul and Spirit of Essence" (1998), "Essence 'Live'" (2000), "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and "The Light" (2003). The choir made its first European tour in 2001 with concert performances in Poland and the Czech Republic. Recent tours have taken Essence of Joy members to South Africa, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Canada, Spain, and France.
The Penn State Glee Club is Penn State’s oldest student organization. Since its first spring tour in March of 1889, the Glee Club has performed throughout the United States and abroad, with recent tours to Wales, Trinidad and Tobago, France, New Zealand, and Iceland. In recent years, the Glee Club has performed at Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh), as well as the National Presbyterian Church and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In addition, the choir has presented concerts at conventions of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (2007, 2013), Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, Inc. (2008, 2014), the National Association for Music Education (MENC, 2009), and the American Choral Directors Association (2010, 2014). Since 2005, the Glee Club has performed major choral works including Symphony No.2 in C Minor ("Resurrection”)" by Gustav Mahler, Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor ("Choral"), the Verdi Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, and Mendelssohn's Elijah. Conducted by Christopher Kiver, the Glee Club’s members hail from all colleges on Penn State’s University Park campus.