Our History

Dolce, the Lehigh University Treble Ensemble, is a group of dedicated students who are passionate about singing together in order to explore the wealth of choral music written especially for treble voices. These members, selected from the University Choir, major in a variety of subjects, ranging from music to engineering.

The history of Dolce is closely connected to the history of women at Lehigh. The first female undergraduates were admitted to Lehigh in 1971, and with that, a new women’s chorus formed: The Chamber Singers. The Chamber Singers, or “Bidlack’s Brigade,” as they were eventually known in honor of their founder, music professor Jerry Bidlack, became an active force on campus as well as off, regularly performing with men’s glee clubs from other universities. In 1979, the group was disbanded and combined with the Lehigh University Glee Club to form what is today known as the University Choir.

After an almost 30-year absence, Dolce has revived the women’s choral tradition in the Lehigh Choral Arts program. Founded in 2007 by the women of the University Choir under the direction of Deborah Field, Dolce established itself through its charming and excellent performances. In its short history, Dolce has begun to amass repertoire ranging from medieval and renaissance pieces to contemporary choral works. Dolce has performed in most Lehigh Choral Arts concerts, including the annual Christmas Vespers and various campus-wide events.

In 2012, Sun Min Lee became the director of Dolce. Under Ms. Lee’s direction, Dolce has become an integral part of the long-standing Lehigh University Choral Arts history as well as the Lehigh Valley community. Dolce’s performances have been praised for their inspiring musical excellence and engagement with the audience.

As part of promoting women’s artistry at Lehigh, Dolce, along with the Center for Gender Equity, has co-hosted the annual Raise Your Voice Gala Concert since 2017 to feature many talented female students, staff, and faculty members at Lehigh. The event has provided the opportunity of connecting Lehigh women artists and sharing the stories of what it means to be a woman at Lehigh. During the fifth annual Raise Your Voice in February of 2020, Dolce raised money for the Nurse-Family Partnership, a non-profit that provides care for first-time low-income mothers in Bethlehem. Along with performances on campus, Dolce has performed at a number of venues off campus, including Kirkland Village, St. Anne’s Church, Fritz Memorial United Methodist Church, Carnegie Hall, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. During the 2019-2020 season, Dolce was invited to perform at the Historic Bethlehem Downtown Advent Calendar, the local RCN’s holiday broadcast, as well as at Trinity Lutheran Church in Robesonia. In the 2017-2018 season, Dolce celebrated its 10th anniversary along with the 45th anniversary of women at Lehigh. This year-long celebration included numerous performances featuring choral works by women composers, as well as Lehigh University composers Casey Rule, Andrey Stolyarov, and Genevieve Shafer. The highlight of the 10th anniversary was a commissioned piece written for Dolce by Reena Esmail titled “I Rise: Women in Song”. This five-movement work, consisting of 140 female singers from Lehigh Choral Arts and its alumni, mezzo-soprano solo, and orchestra, was premiered to great acclaim. Its texts were selected from the writings of American women authors Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and Arlene Geller, a local poet from Bucks County.

If you would like to keep up with the fun and exciting things Dolce does in the future, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @lehighdolce.

If you are a Dolce alum we would like to reconnect with you. Please contact Emma Clopton, our outreach manager, at ejc525@lehigh.edu.

How to Join

Joining Dolce is as easy as joining the University Choir – if you’re a part of the University Choir, and sing soprano or alto, then you have the option of joining Dolce.  Dolce is worth one credit and meets Monday afternoons for one hour in the fall, and two hours in the spring.

Contact Dolce

If you would like to inquire about incorporating a Dolce performance into your event, please contact:

Tess Tuneski, Manager