At the YAI

It's a great way to start 2012 when you can spend a Friday night with friends at YAI, a network serving people with disabilities and their families. We warmed up in a classroom that had a “NO SINGING ALLOWED” poster on the bulletin board.  (We took a group picture with it, if anyone has the photo, please email it to  Then, POHC Baritone Anthony went into the performance room to introduce the choir.  None of us in the hall heard what he said, but we walked in to enthusiastic applause and waving hands, so it must have been good.René didn’t say much when he introduced our first number, just that it was Seasons of Love from Rent, but it was enough to evoke cheers from the audience. One young lady in the front row sang the entire song with us.

The YAI young adults are, without a doubt, our most enthusiastic and energetic audience. They are fully engaged, listening to the songs with concentration, rocking, clapping, and occasionally singing along. After I introduced 7 Principles and said it was in both English and Swahili, one young man said he could count in Swahili and recited the numbers one through ten. Now it was the choir’s turn to applaud him.

The young men and women loved the idea that we were going to sing two songs at the same time: Night of Silence and Silent Night. We invited them to sing along with the Silent Night part. When we did the German version, I saw the same young lady in the first row listen for the first sound of every word, then mouth it and copy what we were saying. Some choir members talked to her later, and found that she is interested in auditioning with us.

Ocho Kandalikas proved to be a clap-along, with René revving up the audience–they clapped faster and faster, so we had to sing faster and faster. Good thing we warmed up with our repetative exercise “the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.”

René had decided not to do Feliz Navidad, because it was too long after Christmas, but one girl kept asking for a Spanish song, and that was the only one we had this season, so we obliged her. Others sang along, and the girl who asked for it was extremely pleased.

It would be an understatement to say that the YAI young adults loved everything we did. They listened to all the intros and clapped for them. They were up on popular culture, telling us some things we didn’t know. Everything they called out was relevant, including that the founder of Kwanza was Dr. Karenga. One young man wanted to know if the song Ocho Kandalakis was in Hebrew, and we said it was in Ladino, a mixture of Spanish and Hebrew.

As they always do, they invited us to the party afterward. The refreshments were quite elaborate—rolled sandwiches in tortilla bread, cookies, crudites, chips, drinks...

Thanks, YAI. You give us a real lift. Happy New Year to all! -Peace of Heart Alto It has become a tradition for a member of POHC to do a post-concert write-up. It started when our Sign-up Coordinator began emailing her summaries to the other members in order to entice newer members to sign-up to sing at community concerts held early in the season. It didn't take long for Concert Write-ups to become greatly anticipated amongst our members, so we share them here in hopes that you'll join us at a future concert.