At The JCC

I opened the door of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and checked in. I spotted Brian checking in as well and we chatted as we took the elevator down to the lower level where the rest of our fellow Peace of Heart Choir members had gathered to rehearse for our outreach.  There would be no instruments during this outreach and so our outreach concert would be performed a capella as it was part of a Shabbat R & R program.

We ran through various songs of our repertoire and before each song, Rene consulted Wilfred several times confirming pitches as we were performing a capella. We sounded good in our rehearsal room. We took a short break while chairs were being set up in the JCC lobby where we were to perform, and before we knew it, we were performing our first song, “Happy” with effervescence and verve and an infectious spirit that drew in our audience. There were about 60 people in attendance in the audience of various ages, particularly many young children and their parents. There was also some hustle and bustle with people passing through to get refreshments and children running about and playing as we sang. We performed with a colorful, cosmic-looking backdrop as our landscape standing out amidst the wood paneling—a series of artwork entitled ”Labscapes: Views Through the Microscope”.

At this point, Lily took the opportunity to introduce the choir and talk to the audience about who we are and our mission. Our second song, a traditional Hebrew song we have performed before, the upbeat “Od Yavo” was performed with energy to an enthusiastic crowd who truly appreciated it. 

We continued with the James Taylor standard, “That Lonesome Road”. The song sounded lovely and was enriched by a wonderfully expressive solo by Nancy.  The sing-along “Peace Like A River” was next. One of the highlights of the outreach, we were lively and strong and joyous as several choir members were clapping their hands and many appreciative audience members were clapping right along with us.  Sheila introduced our next song, one of our core songs--the Korean love song, “Arirang”. We sounded lovely and melodic even without the usual musical accompaniment of the flutes.

Deb introduced the beautiful Spanish love song, “Si La Nieve”. All choral sections blended so well together to make the song so full and colorful. Lily introduced our next song, the traditional Hebrew prayer for peace, “Ose Shalom”. The crowd followed along as the tempo gradually increased. 

During the anti-war sing-along, “Down By the Riverside”, we went into the audience as we customarily do to shake hands with audience members.  We shook hands with many small children and their parents as well. One man sitting in the front row shook my hand. The man’s daughter who had been eating an apple as we sang, stopped eating and shook my hand too.

Barry introduced the Kwaanza song, “Seven Principles” with a lovely solo by Gail. The popular Hebrew song, “Al Hanissim” was next with an introduction by Lily who spoke of its significance as we approach the holiday season of Hanukkah. Our next song, the sing-along “Rock-A-My-Soul” was lively as we broke into three parts, coaching the audience their respective descants. I was part of the second descant and I particularly enjoyed the physical simulation of it as we raised and lower our arms and I know the audience agreed, particularly the children.

The Jim Papoulis anthem proclaiming children as our future, “Give Us Hope” was next. We have performed it countless times before and this time was no different. We sounded especially lovely as our voices truly became one and the feeling of the music was carried forth to our audience.

Lily closed out our outreach with an introduction of our signature closing song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth” with an emphasis on the words, ‘Let Peace Begin With Me’.  “Let There Be Peace On Earth” sounded first-rate, featuring a lovely duet between Lily and Deb. The outreach over, Rene instructed us to take our bows to the applause of an appreciative audience.

It had been a great outreach—lovely music, smiling children and receptive audience. It was so great an outreach that Rene who had not been feeling well earlier in the day, declared that by the third song he had been healed--thus, a true testament to the healing power of music.

-Carrie, Choir Singer

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