December marks the end of Peace of Heart Choir's fall rehearsal and Community Concert season, culminating in the Winter Fundraising Concert on Sunday, December 18. The concert's theme is "Season of Love" and will feature more than a dozen songs celebrating winter holidays and sentiments of love and peace. As an all-volunteer choir, the week before the big show requires all members to participate in preparations beyond their regular musical rehearsals.
Spreading the Word
Early in the season, members create, print, and distribute flyers, but much of the later outreach happens online. TheFacebook page admins have been sharing music video teasers of songs in this season's repertoire: California Dreamin by The Mamas & The Papas; Seasons of Love from the Broadway musical Rent; and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting....) sung by Nat King Cole.
"I've invited every one of my Facebook friends," shared Robert Hornsby, a POHC Baritone and Communications Coordinator. "Even if they can't make it, it's good to hear from them." It is also good to hear from friends and alumni of POHC. Shakti, a former POHC Alto, posted "Turn it out y'all! xoxo" on the Facebook page and Jane, a former POHC Soprano and Steering Committee Chair posted, "[Seasons of Love] brings me back! Break a leg! xx."
Behind the scenes, POHC members make use of their many non-singing talents. Writers and editors finalize and print the program. Marv, a POHC Bass and Assistant Treasurer, facilitates last-minute ticket sales. Wilfred, a POHC Tenor and composer of a new song, Peace of Heart Choir, debuting on Sunday, directs a rehearsal of members who will be introducing songs during the performance. Board members gather supplies for the intermission bake sale. Every member must do their part at home, from selecting a performance uniform to putting their music in performance order. And POHC Steering Committee Chair and Bass Larry Hurst reminds members of one last detail in a pre-concert email: "Have a good nights sleep Saturday!!!"
One goal of Sunday's concert is to raise the money necessary to further the POHC's mission of promoting peace, healing and community through music. The free Community Concerts are where POHC really shines, so what better way to spend a pre-concert afternoon than doing what they do best? POHC members will head to Manhattan's Lower East Side to perform for and visit with residents and staff at Barrier Free Living, an accessible residence and community center.
POHC Musical Facilitator Robert René Galván has been tirelessly rehearsing with the group every Thursday, at additional sectional rehearsals during weeknights, and at a long Sunday rehearsal in November. POHC Soprano Patricia Young, currently a non-singing member, visited the long November rehearsal and was "really impressed" by what she heard. "It was really more than just the sound that was impressive. It was a feeling. The Choir performed Seasons of Love for me and I was blown away. Honestly, that's not a favorite song of mine--I've never seen Rent so I really only know the song from played-out commercials--but the expression of emotion was so sincere, so real, it invigorated the song with new life."
After months of rehearsals, POHC members have their own favorite songs from the season's repertoire. "My favorite songs this season are Wongolo and Amani," shared Nancy Gross, POHC Soprano. "I love the fact that Wongolo is such a complex piece with its change of time signatures and the exquisite harmony." Another fan of the Haitian folk song Wongolo is POHC Baritone Barry Weiss. "When I hear perfect harmony, balanced moving tones, and a sense of really communicating the words of the song...I get a rush of exhilaration that makes me bask in our collected momentary triumph...Wongolo is the song that does it most for me this season."
Support POHC in celebrating a "Season of Love" tomorrow and find a new favorite song that will do it for you this season.