Blog

At The Lincoln Center

We’ve sung in public venues before, usually in places like the High Line, where people happen upon us as they stroll by. Today, the audience came specifically to hear us. In Lincoln Center. In an auditorium named for Bruno Walter. We all felt the awe of that. Backstage hummed, with Rob giving out POHC mugs, shirts, and totes, and Evelyn, our deportment guru, lining us up so we could practice walking onstage in formation, closed books in our left hands. The warm-up was long, more like a dress rehearsal, where, for the first time, we got to work on the transition between Mood Indigo and Satin Doll. Like cramming in the moments before a final exam. Amazingly, it worked.

At The National Council of Jewish Women

The NCJW has a sister senior center in Brooklyn that my mother was a member of for many years. She had lunch there, acted in plays, sang in the chorus, and brought her broken appliances to the retired fix-it man who set up shop in the lobby. The Council Center, as she called it, definitely lives up to the mission stated on its website: to address the social, intellectual, and creative needs of seniors. 

At Foutain House

Fountain House is a community center in the West Forties dedicated to the recovery of men and women with mental illness. Run by members and staff, it provides employment, housing, education, and wellness programs. Members can also hang out in the elegant town-house to play chess, learn a craft, or eat. In the past we sang upstairs in the cafeteria, but tonight we were in the parlor on the ground floor, with couches, armchairs, a baby grand piano, and bottles of water put out for us on a table

After our usual warmups—vocalizing and trying out bits of songs to synchronize guitar, mandolin, and ukulele—one of the early-bird audience members called out, “You sound beautiful.” Then, in the few minutes before the start of the concert, some of us walked through the audience giving out pamphlets to people who asked about auditions and the fundraiser. There was an old-home-week kind feeling: one woman knew Lenore and Bill from her church; another woman knew Anthony from YAI; and a man asked whether I was Marv’s sister (it turns out he had once come to a POHC rehearsal).

We opened with “Siyhamba”—no surprise there—but this time it was “Siyhamba” with a twist. When we finished it, a woman in the back asked whether we ever tried to sing both languages at once. So Rene had half of us sing Zulu while the other half sung English, and it sounded pretty good. “You’re hired!” we told her.

They liked the whole concert and really did look at the singalong sheets, because when it came time for “This Little Light of Mine,” they said the same thing our last audience said: “It’s not on the sheet.” No matter, they sang it anyway.

After the concert, at Wilfred’s request, we posed for a group picture, taken the old fashioned way, by a photographer not in the picture (Anthony’s mom and his coach). Then another picture, this one a selfie by Brian—if a selfie can have 20 people in it. The audience watched the photo shoot, too. When it was over, as we were walking out, many told us how much they enjoyed the concert. “Come back,” one said, and another called, “God bless you all.”

-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

At Clyde Burton House

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 Sixteen performers, and twelve audience members in a very small room. Chamber music. Up close and personal.

Clyde Burton House, at the end of Alphabet City (between C-D, but feels more like Z when you’re walking there), has 33 SRO units of supportive, permanent housing for formerly homeless seniors or seniors with mental health issues. (A senior is someone over 55.) It’s one of the facilities run by the Bowery Residents Committee (BRC), and our own Soprano Olga does volunteer work there. The crafts her seniors made were hanging on the bulletin board.

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We warmed up by running through several numbers, mainly so the various stringed instruments (Rene’s, Brian’s, Marv’s) could coordinate. A few audience members were already seated during this time, and we explained that they would be hearing these songs again. One of the men said that was fine: “Y’all good at what you do, from what I heard.” One of the women sang along with “Pieces of the World,” even though there was no way she could have heard the song before. After Carrie introduced the choir, when we officially started with “Siyahamba,” she sang along with that, too. 

 These men and women joined in enthusiastically on the singalongs, and the ones who didn’t sing had smiles on their faces. Wilfred was the Jack of all soloists, doing both “Lonesome Road” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” And Rene livened the show by explaining things about his instruments, especially the wooden sticks he was using during “Siyahamba” instead of drums—though the song was Zulu, he said, from Africa, and the sticks were from Mexico, they went well together. Rene also told them that this wasn’t the whole choir, and they wanted to know when we were going to come back with the rest. (There’s no way we could all fit in that room.)

One of the woman who was singing along with gusto told me after the performance that her mother was a music teacher, and she was a singer. She asked whether we were performing anywhere that she could come to. I told her about the fundraiser at Baruch and gave her a pamphlet. She doesn’t have a computer but uses the ones at the public library and said she was going to check for when our auditions were “now that things are settling down.”

When I got home, before writing this, I looked at the BRC and clicked on a video called “Grace’s Story” (see below for link). It turned out to be the story of the woman who was singing “Siyahamba” and “Pieces of the World.” The subtitle of the video is “Every Homeless Person Has a Story. This is Grace’s.” It’s not often that we get to know the personal histories of the people we sing for. It adds another dimension to what we do.

-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

At Mercy Home

The Sisters of Mercy closed their Willoughby Avenue convent in 2008, after 146 years of ministering to the homeless, orphans, and the sick. The beautiful building now serves as the administrative office for Mercy Home, the order’s network of thirteen group homes for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The building is also used as a community center, a place the residents come for recreation and enrichment programs. It was POHC’s privilege to be the recreation for this evening, both on the giving and receiving end.

The door of our small warmup room was open, and people stopped by to introduce themselves and shake hands on their way to the former chapel, now the auditorium. Many of them knew Michael Anne, the POHC Soprano who works for Mercy Home and arranged this gig. When it was time to begin, we marched down the center aisle to the stage area in front, with people waving and smiling as we passed. Ruth introduced the choir, and then we opened with—you guessed it—“Siyahamba.” It’s always a hit, but this time, when it was over, someone shouted Encore! above the applause.

Encores we did. Ten. By pre-arrangement, most were singalongs, with POHC members mingling with the very receptive audience during Rock-a-My Soul. The rest of our numbers were sung on stage, which we shared with one of the residents and his full set of drums. Occasionally he helped us keep the beat, but otherwise he just sat and listened. This audience was dressed up for an event, and they all had big smiles on their faces. They moved. They swayed. They Clapped. A few even stood up to bounce in place while we sang and Rene, Ruth, and Marv played—not all at once—two guitars, a mandolin, and a ukulele. Thanks to Wilfred and Deb for beautiful solos.

After our closing “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” we got to sit in the audience and hear their band, The Melodic Souls. The drum guy on stage came to life, and so did a keyboard player and a guitar player. Other members of the band were in the first two rows of the audience, turned around to face the rest of the audience while they shook maracas and tambourines. Each member of the band was introduced by the drummer and got up to take a bow while the audience whooped and hollered. Then came an original song, “On Our Way Home,” and a standard, “I Can See Clearly Now.” One of the staff members passed a microphone around to give each of the band members a solo moment. Now it was our turn to clap.

On my way to the reception that followed—pastries, fruit salad, and beverages—another staff members stopped me to say, “You guys are great! So in sync and in harmony. You gave me the chills.”

Tonight, we did, indeed, sing joy. Furaha!

-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

Kickstarter 2015 CD!


Come on a journey around the world in song with Peace of Heart Choir. We need your support to record and produce our new CD of World Music. The 2015 CD will be bigger and better--more songs and higher-quality recording! We deliver the joy of live music to many people who can’t get it any other way. Each year, we perform about 20 free outreach concerts at area shelters, hospitals, hospices and nursing homes, as well as at public libraries and parks. Our aim is to promote healing, diversity, community bonding, and mutual understanding through music. We sing in a wide variety of vocal styles, including International, Jazz, Folk, American Standards, Traditional and even Classical tunes. We also sing in multiple languages, including Swahili, Igbo, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Irish and Chinese.

The money we raise in this campaign will enable us to record the album, to mix and master the songs and print the CDs professionally. You can make a difference.

"A Season to Shine": At a Benefit Concert for the first time!

 

Our annual Benefit Concert, "A Season to Shine" was finally here, At the "Baruch Performing Arts Center" we were expected to appear, Excited alike were the veteran and new members, This would be a performance to remember!

The day began with an early call time, Everyone carrying baked treats and looking just fine! Michael Anne, Olga T. & Noella were stunning in Red, Alex, Gary and Phil dressed in Blue the tenors led. In the alto section Carrie sparkled and shined, And René topped it all with an Orange sublime!

 

The first task was a general rehearsal. How should we stand? You'll be there, I'll be here, everyone hold your music with your left hand! We went through the repertoire tuning our voices and refining our part, With René's final adjustments, soon it was time for the concert to start.

We headed to the backstage excited and eager to begin, And while we waited Bass Barry Started to sing, "It had to be you" he ingeniously improvised for us newbies, And Deb with "Certificates of Achievement" made us all shine like rubies, Maryann and Laura S. were never absent at rehearsals this season, so for celebrating there was more than one reason.

Attention please, It's time to line up! Rob called out, chaos broke loose, the right place in the line was for everyone a huge doubt, after fumbling a little and giggling a lot, We were finally ready, everyone in their spot. So we walked on stage, the lights shone bright Seeing our friends and family was a delight, (and soooo many people gave us a bit of stage fright).

"Furaha!" We sang first, wishing joy for each and every day, And so the concert was well on its way.

"Carol of the Bells" was a favorite for many of us, So excited to sing it we took off a bit rushed. René made no fuss, He led us to the last notes, “Ding Dong Ding Dong”, That was a wonderful song!

Next the lovely Lily invited the audience to join in, For the Yiddish tongue twisting "Ciri biri biri bim", We all concentrated to come in on cue, It turned out just right, a sigh of relief we all blew.

Then Pearl introduced "Gentrai", the beautiful Irish song, and we knew our sopranos couldn't go wrong, Seconds together with altos as Uilleann pipes hummed, And with intricate lyrics the first sopranos were then summed.

Next Carol King's "You've got a friend", The audience enjoyed from beginning to end. Laura Wells and Charlie blew me away with their heartfelt duet, And Evelyn's violin was so special it will be hard to forget.

The Bass and Tenors were the highlight of the "Kwanzaa Song", "Continuous, continuous" they all sang along, Then the time came to "Light one candle" And even though I had a few doubts, with the help of my fellow seconds it was easy to handle!

The intermission arrived in a flash, And off for our treats the audience made a dash, The Bourbon brownies I hear were a must, They sold out so quickly nothing was left, not even a crust.

The second part began with "Sleigh Ride", the bells started ringing, And to a fast tempo we were tightly clinging, Rene led the horses with a clip and a clop, Carrie had practiced "the slap" all night. That's why the "special effects" were the song's highlight!

The time came for "That Lonesome Road", And in her solo our dear Nancy her talents showed, She wowed the audience with her vibrant jazzy voice, For this song she was the perfect choice!

 Then it was time to dance with "The Boys", "Oye Como Va" let's make some noise, Barbara in percussion and Marv's flute, To the great Tito Puente we payed tribute.

The room was suddenly quiet when Dave began to play, His "Holiday Medley Guitar Solo", blew the audience away, It set the perfect festive atmosphere, I felt honored to have such a talented peer!

Our 4 Lennons came on stage for "Happy Xmas (War is over)", Of course I mean: Brian, Andrea, Gary and Tony Glover, They gave a unique feel to a traditional tune, There won't be a cooler quartet anytime soon.

Anthony put on his shades, he knew it was time to have fun, "Proud Mary" was next, “nice and rough” was how it had to be done, I had always dreamed of singing it one day, And with Tony's improv.  we put on quite a display.

The repertoire included some sing alongs, “Rock-a my Soul” and “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”, I was happy to see our board members singing and dancing galore, Last but not least, with "Let there Be Peace on Earth" the concert was coming to an end, And for this one, with the past alumni we made a perfect blend.

I felt so lucky to be part of such a diverse and wonderful crowd, We looked at each other and gracefully bowed, I never thought so many friends I would acquire, Thank you for being so awesome "Peace of Heart Choir".

-Olga Pinto, 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

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At The Workmen’s Circle Multicare Center

I looked for the entrance of Workmen’s Circle Multicare Center. Its turquoise pillars stood out in this residential Bronx neighborhood on a dismal December day and I knew I had found the right place. Workmen’s Circle Multi-Care Center is a 525-bed non-profit rehabilitation center/nursing home. I walked through the front doors and I told someone at the front desk that I was with Peace of Heart Choir and asked where we were rehearsing. He directed me to a room directly across from the desk where I found Rene and several other choir members waiting for guidance as to where we would go next. Apparently, they were not aware we would be performing. But that it is possible on a weekend performance such as this when the director was not there. I joked to fellow choir members we were being sequestered as the glass door was closed, the space was tight, and it was very warm—even warmer than the nursing home itself which is always warm as a rule of thumb.

A lady who was a manager came by and rescued us and brought us upstairs to a chapel where we left our belongings and it was time for the outreach to begin. We lined up and I took notice of the room. A Sunday meal menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner was posted on the wall with a photo of Liberace at the very top. I joked to Howard, “It appears that Liberace presides over the Sunday meal.” Howard laughed. I then noticed the poster of a record that read “Rock and Roll” across it. If you looked to your left, you could see you were in a hospital/nursing home setting. When you looked in the direction of the dining hall, it felt like a combination dining hall/classroom with all of its decorations—a place almost stuck in time meant to probably evoke nostalgia with its posters of Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Liberace as I mentioned before—just to name a few. Rene warned us before we entered of the frail state of the people in attendance. I was prepared for it as I was so familiar with my Dad’s frailty at the end of his life 5 years ago after a battle with lung cancer. Many residents were in wheelchairs and had breathing tubes.

We took our places and it was time for the outreach to begin. From our opening number, Siyahamba, it was evident we had a fan in the front row. She had a breathing tube and was in a wheelchair and she was just as bold and spirited as her red lipstick and the bright red beads she wore around her neck. She was pounding her right fist in the air in response to our music. At the end of the song, in a raspy voice, Jeanette shouted, “Excellent.” We continued with a lovely Wanemo to which Jeanette exclaimed, “Beautiful.” It was also clear we had another fan. He was in a wheelchair on the opposite side in the front row. He wore a drag racing cap and seemed to be a native New Yorker and was very assertive in his approval. A festive Carol of the Bells was next followed by Michael Row the Boat Ashore. There was a lady sitting at the left hand side of the room in the corner. I made eye contact with her a few times. It was during Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, she seemed to become more involved in the outreach. Her eyes lit up. During Down by the Riverside, we went out to shake the hands of the residents which I found really moving and I know my choirmates found especially touching as well.

When I shook the hand of the lady who became involved during Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, she revealed a most gracious and gentle smile as she mouthed, “Beautiful” to me and she said softly, “My throat is sore. I wish I could sing.” That Lonesome Road featured a heartfelt, lovely solo by Nancy. Oye Come Va was a great fun, up tempo number. A pretty Pokarekare Ana, our Maori love ballad and a pensive Light One Candle followed. Next was Happy Xmas(War is Over). I’m so glad that Deb suggested we reinstate the choral refrain War is Over. I know many other choir members have commented what a difference that makes in preserving the integrity of the original meaning of the song as written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. And what a wonderful vocal quartet we had for this song: Brian, Gail, Gary, and Maryann. Our number one fan, Jeanette, especially appreciated this tune as did several audience members. Rock-a-My-Soul was next followed by our wonderful anthem for our children, Give Us Hope and our signature anthem, Let There Be Peace on Earth. Exemplary musical accompaniment was provided throughout the outreach by Brian and Marv on guitar and Rene on ukelele/cigar box guitar as it was affectionately referenced. Deb, Barbara, and Ellen also provided fine musical support.

We carpooled back to Manhattan and Queens, respectively. It had been a touching outreach—the last outreach of the season. I thought of when I shook Jeanette’s hand during Down by the Riverside. She said, “Bless You.” I felt blessed to have met her and to have been a part of this Peace of Heart Choir outreach. Blessed indeed.

-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

At The Jewish Community Center

I walked up to the entrance of the Jewish Community Center and found Alex waiting outside. We walked inside to see where we were warming up. I saw the various activities going on as part of the day. I walked up to two women and realized one of them was Gia, who had helped set up our concert. I complimented her on her shiny silver headband and then I took off my hat to reveal my shiny gold one. “It’s obviously ‘Shiny Headband Day’,” she said in solidarity with a smile on her face. Alex and I then went down to the lower level and met Noella and several other choir members along the way. The room where we would rehearse had obviously changed. Back up one flight again. We rehearsed a bit with a little lift from Lily’s delicious homemade sweet potato latkes and then it was time to begin. We were not allowed any musical accompaniment or even a pitch pipe for this performance in respect for the Holidays. In the JCC setting, we definitely included Chiribim as part of our program and included Od Yavo. The day was filled with family activities including face painting and this was obvious from the families and children in attendance.

Our performance began with our signature opening number, Siyahamba. Gail and Lily provided lovely vocal support in our song of welcome, Wanemo. Od Yavo was fun and spirited as we sped up and slowed down at various points and built up momentum towards the end under Rene’s direction. Next was the Gaelic song, Geantri. One of our core repertoire songs, Michael Row the Boat Ashore followed. During this song, an adorable toddler in a navy blue and yellow shirt and overalls kept trying to grab the words we had handed out from his mother’s hand as she was trying to sing the words from the sheet. She eventually walked out with her toddler--guess he wanted to sing too. The Yiddish song, Chiribim, was next with spirited vocals and introduction by Lily. A lovely acapella version of Light One Candle followed. Next was the sing-along Down by the Riverside. Kwanzaa Song was on the original program but as we realized that it was a holiday song, it was excluded from this concert. The sing-along Rock-A-My-Soul was next followed by a lovely acapella Give Us Hope and the Peace of Heart Choir anthem, a lovely Let There Be Peace on Earth.

It was nice to look out into the audience and see several familiar faces from last year’s outreach at the JCC. After the concert, a lady thanked us for an enjoyable concert. I saw a happy child with brightly colored paint decorating their face who had just participated in the face painting activity. It was so nice to have again been part of this annual event.

-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

At The Queens Public Library

I walked off the bus and I made my way across the intersection. I could see the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library from across the way decked out in holiday regalia, a Christmas tree with brightly colored lights with a menorah by its side. The scene stood out in downtown Flushing amidst the endless shops and bus stops and hustle and bustle of this neighborhood—a brief bit of serenity to counteract the hubbub this holiday season. I advanced towards the sparkling lights and found Alex waiting on the steps. I walked in and Gary was there to welcome us and direct us to where we would be warming up. Alex and I joined the other choir members.

We put our belongings in what was essentially a dressing room complete with lighted mirrors.We warmed up a bit. It was a beautiful concert hall. It was most definitely a community concert—families and children filled the seats--around 90 people were in the audience. The lights drowned out most faces beyond the first row. We could clearly see the family sitting in the front row. The mother and father told their daughter to be quiet throughout the performance. She was playful, adorable, dressed in hot pink from head to toe from her top to her winter boots. She put a smile on all of our faces. We began with our signature opening number, a rousing Siyahamba. Next was a melodic Wanemo with lovely solos by Gail and Lily. We followed it up with a different turn, the fun, Ukrainian holiday song, Carol of the Bells.

Next we did a breakneck Geantri. Marv provided spirited musical accompaniment on guitar to Michael Row the Boat Ashore. The concert continued with the James Taylor standard, That Lonesome Road, with fine vocals by Gary. The Carole King classic You’ve Got A Friend had lovely vocal support from Gail and Wilfred and pretty musical accompaniment by Evelyn on violin. Our Maori love ballad, Pokarekare Ana, was next and our sound benefited from the fine musical accompaniment by Marv on guitar and Rene on ukelele.

The anti-war anthem Down by the Riverside was given a nice boost by Marv on guitar. Usually many of us go out into the audience to shake hands at the appropriate part but as this was on a stage and there were side steps leading down into the audience, only a few choir members answered the call and ventured into the audience to shake hands. Kwanzaa Song found the ladies in fine form. Marv provided fine musical support to Rock-A-My Soul. Our voices lifted in song for the Jim Papoulis plea for the future of our children, an acapella Give Us Hope. This song was quite fitting in an audience filled with families and their children. We concluded with the anthem of our choir, a very lovely Let There Be Peace on Earth. As Rob noted, ‘we wish for peace, so desperately needed right now in our world.’

And so, we took our bows as instructed by Rene to enthusiastic applause. Right after the concert, we spoke with Gina, the events coordinator. She thanked us for coming and noted not only the nice size of the audience—around 90—but also the positive reaction. She was very pleased. As we walked out into the lobby, we saw the same couple from the front row with their adorable little girl—a vision of hot pink exuberance and still as playful and active as during the performance. Her parents began to apologize for her. Then Gary smiled and indicated that was nothing he hadn’t seen from his own children in their time or in any little ones of a certain age for that matter. The couple thanked us and told us they had enjoyed the concert. Funny how everything always comes full circle.

The concert over, we all headed out into the crisp night air—some of us taking a fun-filled ride with fellow choir members back to Manhattan and various other points and another small group of us including me taking advantage of the fine Asian cuisine in this Queens enclave, sharing a Vietnamese meal together. It had been a lovely outreach--our only one in Queens this season.

-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

At a Domestic Violence Shelter

We performed at a Barrier Free Living domestic violence shelter. Due to high security around the shelter, no photos were taken at this outreach. It was two days before Thanksgiving and it was easy to miss the location—in fact, Gary and I almost walked past it at first. We met Rene and a small group of choir members inside. We displayed our IDs at the front desk and made our way to the room downstairs where we would rehearse and leave our belongings. We actually equaled over 20 singers at this outreach which is quite impressive considering it was arranged on such short notice. We did our vocal warm-up, rehearsed some of our repertoire and began to make our way upstairs.

Wonderful photos of residents lined the hallway—really candid shots which were so real and beautiful at the same time--photos that I would later find out were actually taken by the CEO, Paul Feuerstein. As I walked into the dining room where we would be performing, a young girl perhaps twelve-years-old held the door open for me and told me with a warm, welcoming smile that I looked pretty. We lined up according to our respective sections and we knew it was going to be a tight fit, but that was ok

There was a homey feel about the room. There were 17 tables with Thanksgiving-themed tablecloths with arrangements of pumpkins and gourds. Smells of the Thanksgiving meal filled the air. A fellow choir member noted to me that the smells were making her hungry. There were more than 100 people in attendance mostly women and children with a small number of men.

We launched into our signature opening, Siyahamba. The sounds of welcome continued with the lovely sounds created by us on Wanemo. Pocarekare Ana sounded so pretty in the dining room. One of this season’s new songs, Chiribim, introduced and performed beautifully by Leslie was a big hit with the children. The audience was having fun. There was such an excitement, particularly from the young people. But then again pretty early on, it became obvious that we had a fan club at this outreach. The wide smiles, clapping and singing along were priceless and very touching. You would not know the distress or the trauma that our audience have experienced, but only feel the joy of our audience—women, children, and a few men all in the moment.

During Down by the Riverside, we ran out into the audience to shake hands and there was such warmth I felt. Kudos to Dave and Marv for fine musical accompaniment throughout. Dave was going to perform the solo in James Taylor’s That Lonesome Road but couldn’t find his glasses. There was a mad dash to find his glasses and when it was apparent they wouldn’t turn up, Nancy stepped in with a lovely solo. Nancy and Gary partnered up for the Carole King classic, You’ve Got A Friend. Ruth pointed out that Give Us Hope was an anthem for our children because children are our future.

The outreach ended with a warm thank-you from the CEO, a generous man who expressed his appreciation for our visit and we were greeted with warm, enthusiastic applause. We made our way downstairs to get our coats and spoke to the director before we left. It was her third Thanksgiving party that day and her energy and her passion for the mission of empowerment is undeniable. We left the outreach on an absolute high.

 

There would be no photos of this outreach. But I know this was one of the best outreach concerts I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of. I also know the images are indelible in the minds of all who took part—exuberant souls and those wonderful, smiling children. This is what Thanksgiving is all about—the ability to experience joy in the moment, the triumph of spirit and true gratitude against all odds.

-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

At The Advent Lutheran Church

I looked for the red double doors noted in the Peace of Heart Choir email with details for our outreach at Advent Lutheran Church and when I spotted the red doors I knew I had found the right place. I walked through the red double doors on the side of the building and walked down the stairs to the basement past a long line of those in need waiting to be admitted for their monthly luncheon—in this case, a Thanksgiving meal.

When I arrived downstairs, I found preparations underway—volunteers scurrying to get everything ready. There was a room in the back with countless pieces of pumpkin pie. I was very early and so was a small contingent of Peace of Heart Choir singers who were in the middle of it all chatting with Rene. Volunteers cleaned tables and we began to do our vocal warm-up. Our performance area was definitely going to be a tight fit but we adapt easily. There were rows and rows of tables with at least 75 people in attendance. Perhaps that is a low estimate. There easily could have been over a hundred. Sightlines were tricky because there were several poles in the way so not everyone in attendance had an unobstructed view.

Nonetheless, as our audience began their meals and volunteers came around serving food, we opened our outreach with our signature opening piece, Siyahamba. We continued with the lovely sounds of Wanemo with fine vocal support from Gail and Cheryl. The Maori love ballad Pocarekare Ana was next followed by Barry’s impromptu heartfelt version of It Had To Be Youto which several audience members sang along. Next was the sing-along Down By The Riverside with fine musical accompaniment by Dave on guitar.

One minor difference though we did not go into the audience to shake hands as usual. It was clear we did have a cheering section in the lady in the red sweater with a white scarf wrapped around her head. As Lexi declared, “This lady was great!”  I know she definitely put a smile on my face and moved me with her enthusiasm. I can’t agree with Rob more wholeheartedly in his assessment that she embodies what the spirit of outreach is all about. She was most visibly affected by Carole King's You’ve Got A Friend with lovely vocal support from Laura and Wilfred. She sang along, mouthing the words and even began to cry. James Taylor's Lonesome Road was next with another fine vocal turn from Wilfred. Rene looked out to us and at this point signaled we had done enough, yes? And so all was left but one of our core songs, Let There Be Peace on Earth which was introduced by Ruth and was a lovely way to end the afternoon.

- 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

At The Jewish Home & Hospital

The room was large, but there were only two rows of regular chairs. The rest of the floor was in reserve for residents who would be coming down in wheel chairs. A few were there when we started warmups, which included testing Rene’s latest toy—his portable mike. When Leslie tried it out with Ciribiribim, one of the early-birds mouthed all the words. After the warmups I spoke to a man who was looking through the singalong handout. I said he probably knew some of the songs, and he said, “Oh, yes! Pete Seeger!” He said he hadn’t known about the concert and was “getting ready to turn in,” when someone came by his room and told him about us. “I’m glad I came down,” he said. I pointed out that the concert hadn’t started yet. “Doesn’t matter. You guys are good.” Rene arranged us in a semi-circle so we could hear each other in the spongey (his word) room—first-sopranos facing second-altos across the piano. And then it was time to begin.

Siyahamba, as always, was a great opening. It says to the audience, This is who we are—enthusiastic, fun-loving, energetic. Come into our world. These residents got it. They may not have been physically able to dance in the aisles, but it was obvious from their smiles and participation throughout the concert that they were engaged. They were especially energized by the two singalongs, Rock-a-My-Soul and Down by the Riverside. Rock-a-My-Soul is always my favorite, when we embed ourselves among the audience members and our voices blend with theirs. Tonight I got the feeling that singing was a lost art for some of them—a few didn’t get the courage to join in until the last repetition or two, but when they did, there was such joy on their faces. At the end, a few residents told us that they loved the concert and wished we had had a longer program. They also said they would have liked more singalongs.

This concert was special for me in another way, too. While we sing for our audiences, we also sing for ourselves, and tonight, POHC members were treated to some spectacular performances by our fellow singers. (I don’t think it was just that they used Rene’s new mike.)

Gail and Leslie in Wanemo. Laura and Charlie in You’ve Got a Friend. Leslie in Ciribiribim. Wilfred in Lonesome Road. Barry in a surprise rendition of It Had to Be You. Marv’s piano accompaniment to Light One Candle.

Wonderful concert. For the audience as well as ourselves.

-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

At The Carter Burden Senior Center

It was an especially chilly mid-November afternoon but you would never know it as you walked into the Carter Burden Senior Center on Saturday afternoon. The seniors’ recreational room where we would perform was quite warm. As Dave noted, “I always forget how warm senior centers are.” I arrived and joined a nice-sized group of Peace of Heart Choir singers beginning Rene’s vocal warm-up. There were no fewer than 6 choir members attired in purple and Rene smiled and noted to Wilfred that we should get a purple picture as he was dressed in a purple shirt as well. The concert opened with a signature opening number of one of our core songs, a rousing Siyahamba followed by Wanemo. Next was the Maori ballad Pokarekare Ana with Brian and Dave providing fine musical support to Rene on lovely ukelele with a reverie-like feeling. The sing-along Down by the Riverside with spirited musical support from Brian and Dave followed with several of us running exuberantly into the audience to shake the hands of the seniors. We ran back to our places.

Barry did a sweet little impromptu surprise for the audience of It Had To Be You. Rene then introduced a fine new selection to this season’s repertoire, the Carole King classic, You’ve Got A Friend, a fitting piece for the spirit of outreach. Appreciative audience members visibly sang along to this one.

The next tune was a perfect follow-up, the James Taylor standard, That Lonesome Road, introduced by Rene with lovely vocal support from Nancy. Our outreach continued with another sing-along, Rock-a My-Soul. We started by singing each of the three choral parts to coach the audience. Then choir members ran into the audience and we split up into three sections to encourage audience members to sing along.

I noticed one audience member sitting in the back left hand side who seemed as if he might just want to rise from his seat as we sang but remain seated. We started our next song, Oye Come Va, introduced by Rob with fun, rollicking musical accompaniment by Dave and Brian. It was rousing and fun and I decided to start to dance to the music with the intention of getting the gentleman who seemed as if he wanted to dance to Rock-a My Soul on his feet and, of course, and any other audience member who wanted to dance.

I motivated one lady who was the first to get up and dance in front of the audience and finally, the gentlemen who I felt wanted to dance. You just couldn’t stop them. And it was such a delight to behold to see the seniors dancing—definitely a highlight. Next I introduced one of our core repertoire songs, the Jim Papoulis anthem for the future of our children, Give Us Hope. Our voices soared and filled the room. Ruth introduced our last song of the afternoon, one of our core repertoire pieces, Let There Be Peace on Earth. Again our voices filled the room.

After the concert, we did our usual audience feedback surveys. Ida came up to me and said that she loved us and we had to come back. As I walked out, a senior who had just seen the concert stopped me to say ‘thank you’ and held his heart. I then held my heart and said ‘thank you’ in return. He then leaned in closer and said, “ You rock-a my soul.” It was our first visit to Carter Burden Senior Center and the temperature wasn’t the only warm thing--it was the hearts and spirits of an appreciative group of seniors who look forward to our next visit.

-Carrie Wesolowski, 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

At DeWitt Rehab and Nursing Center

I arrived late (because of work) to find a few residents seated around tables listening to the choir singing "That Lonesome Road." The sound was so good I thought it was the concert and realized it was the warm-up only when Rene stopped before the end of the song.

One of the recreation workers came around to the tables with a beverage cart that had wine as well as soft drinks. She put out plates of chips, too, cabaret-style. Then it was time to begin.

"Siyahamba," always a rousing opening, drew enthusiastic applause. We followed that with a mix of old and new pieces. I enjoyed seeing members of the audience singing along to songs other than the official sing-alongs, in particular, "You've Got a Friend."

Residents and a few of their visitors kept coming in, and before long, all the tables were full. Anthony's mom, Jeanette, was also in the audience, along with her sister, who lives in Indonesia and hasn't been to New York in 23 years. Anthony's mom sang and bopped along with several songs, like the honorary choir member she is.

Marv and Dave provided excellent accompaniment, freeing Rene to do what he does so well--conduct and help us sing with more nuance, and also get the "s" and "t" sounds on the right beat.

For me, the highlight of the evening was "Rock-a-My Soul," when Rene divided the audience into three groups and the choir broke formation to stand among them. I was with the residents of Group-3. Some sang with more gusto than others, but they were all obviously enjoying themselves. One woman was a bit tentative, but I could tell she really wanted to do this. We locked eyes, and the longer we held the connection, the more she sang with more confidence.

On the way out, I talked to a woman who said, "Encore, encore." I told her she should have shouted it sooner, before we had our coats on. She said, "I did, but no one heard me." This wasn't the official opening of our fall season. We already sang two concerts with the Fusion ensemble and one by ourselves at the 9/11 memorial. It felt like the opening, though, the first concert where we connected to the audience in an intimate setting. We didn't sing "Furaha!" tonight, but we definitely sang joy.

-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

At The Hamilton Senior Center

I walked into Hamilton Senior Center and a smiling Ruth greeted me, directing me to the restrooms and to the room at the end of the hallway where Peace of Heart Choir was rehearsing. Rene noted that there was a ‘lovely sound quality to the room’ and, I would add, an infectiously excited, almost giddy, feeling among choir members. We were all looking forward to our first outreach in a few months and our second collaboration with the Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble. Abigail, the coordinator of the center loves to start promptly and so at 1:30 pm sharp, we made our way into the main room. We entered and found Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble in their places. We found our spots in our respective sections, having to squeeze in a bit to make room for all of us. I looked out into the nice-sized audience. Our program opened with a rousing Star Spangled Banner, a joint effort between Peace of Heart Choir and Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble.

The program continued with one of Peace of Heart Choir’s core songs, Siyahamba. There was a lady who was sitting in one of the front rows in the center who had been to an earlier Peace of Heart Choir outreach concert and so she sang along enthusiastically to Siyahamba, mouthing the words which was absolutely a joy to behold. Next was our traditional Maori ballad, Pokarekare Ana, with lovely introductory accompaniment by our choir director Rene on ukelele and fine musical accompaniment by Brian Muni and Dave Koch that lifted the song to another level.

We performed our solo efforts in pairs, so the next set was enjoyable versions of Masquerade Waltz from the Masquerade Suite and La Bella Cubana performed by the Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble.

We followed with a set of Peace of Heart Choir’s core songs, Peace Salaam Shalom and a soaring Give Us Hope, by Jim Papoulis, a traditional anthem of September Song and the September Concert Foundation. Give Us Hope really resonated with an appreciative audience. The song felt triumphant, buoyed by Dave and Brian’s uplifting musical accompaniment that really helped to escalate the feeling of anticipation and, ultimately, triumph.

We took our seats during the Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble’s sets and of their solo efforts, I particularly enjoyed A Call to Courage by William Ross from the 2006 motion picture” Ladder 49”. Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble’s Conductor Stephen Francis Vasta made a point of the fact that the Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble has exclusive rights to the piece. For me, the real treasure of the piece was, as I affectionately refer to him, “The Little Drummer Boy”, Frederick Chau, the adorable little boy who was the guest artist on percussion.

The two centerpieces of the Peace of Heart Choir/Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble collaboration closed out the concert: Hope, with lovely vocals from Gwyn Griffin and Non Nobis Domine with fine vocal support from Gary Baker. Non Nobis Domine, with really lovely conduction from Rene, really showcased the collaboration of the two groups. And so we were ready for our encore. Rene posed the question to the group, “So what shall we do?” I and a few other choir members called out, Let There Be Peace on Earth. And so it ‘twas—a lovely way to end a lovely afternoon of music. We took our bows to a nice amount of applause and made our way outside into the hallway. As I walked towards the end of the hallway, a senior who had just seen our concert said, “Thanks for a great concert.” “It was our pleasure”, I responded. “What’s your name?” “Bob", he said. Then Bob said the most touching thing. “It made my day.” Well that was music to my ears. I smiled to myself and I thought 'that’s the magic of outreach and precisely why we do what we do.'

-Carrie, Peace of Heart 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

At the National Sep 11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial is a contemplative, park-like outdoor space with lawns, walkways, and rows of trees surrounded by ivy groundcover. POHC was honored to be one of four groups performing there on 9/12. The bagpipes were the first group, while it was still light; when they finished, they graciously posed for pictures with choir members. Next came a string chamber group whose sound was all but lost in the great outdoors until Rene, Brian, and Dave assisted them with POHC amplification equipment brought by Rene. Third was a singer who has sung the “Star Spangled Banner” in all fifty states. When she finished singing it here, she invited her “friend who I just met,” Evelyn, a POHC soprano, up to the podium to read a poem she (the Star Spangled Banner singer) wrote about love of country and flag.

All this took some time, and when the POHC ascended the podium, the light was fast fading. There was still a sizable audience on the grass, though. How many were POHC family and friends, and how many random passers-by, I do not know. We sang ten songs, all well-received. What was more challenging than getting our sound to carry in the open space was the light. From the time we sang our first song, “Senzenia,” to the time we sang our last, “Let There be Peace on Earth,” our sheet music went from visible to invisible. For some songs, that was no problem—most of us knew them by heart. Others, like “Hard Times” and “Cherokee Morning Song,” were not as easy. It was also difficult for Rene to see the pitches on his pitch pipe. Despite all this, we sounded wonderful. I think we all felt very good about our performance—not just for the way we sang, but for our participation in the commemoration.

A note on the attached photo: The memorial park is surrounded by the tall buildings of downtown Manhattan. From our lineup on the podium, before we started singing, I took this picture of the sunset being reflected in one of those buildings. (Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy.)

-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

At The Shrine Church of St Anthony of Padua

Last night we performed with the Classical Fusion Chamber Ensemble (CFCE) in the beautiful Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua. The concert was in remembrance of 9/11. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that POHC sang with a full orchestra and was directed by an outside conductor. It was an interesting experience.

There were sixteen pieces on the program. Seven were performed by orchestra alone, six by POHC alone, and three by the combined orchestra and choir. Of the three pieces we did together, Rene conducted two: “Star Spangled Banner” and “Non Nobis Domine.” The third, "Hope," was conducted by Stephen from CFCE. Those three were the most challenging to prepare.

We had two rehearsals. The first was in a studio barely large enough to contain the whole orchestra. The choir members stood in the back, squeezed against one another. Think rush hour in a subway car without air conditioning. The second was in the church, much more humane and roomy. During the rehearsals, we worked out the sound balance—the choir had to sing very loud in order not to be drowned out by the orchestra. And for “Hope,” we adapted to a different conducting style, a new way of getting cued in after many measures’ rest. POHC is nothing if not flexible and professional.

The actual performance went very well. Kudos to our two soloists, Marta in “Hope,” and Gary in “Non Nobis Domine.” Your beautiful voices soared with feeling in that church. And to Gail and Cheryl in "Wanemo," and Gwen and Cheryl in "Senzenia." And to the whole choir in the songs we did by ourselves, especially the spirit with which we sang “Give Us Hope.”

The highlight from CFCE for me was “A Call To Courage,” from the 2006 motion picture Ladder 49, about a firefighter. It was moving and exquisitely performed. I also loved watching their drummer, a boy so young he was probably born after 9/11.

While I enjoyed singing in this concert, I didn’t feel as much of a connection to the audience as I do in our smaller community concerts, where we get closer to the audience and sometimes walk among them. This was more formal, with the orchestra in the pit and the choir on the stage. Still, it was a thrilling experience. It was also nice to see many POHC members and spouses/partners in the audience.

Well-done, choir. And now we can look ahead to our regular seasion, with our regular conductor, the incomparable Rene.

-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

Live Music Returns to the 9/11 Memorial`

In recognition of its ongoing commemoration, a special musical tribute will take place at the 9/11 Memorial on Friday evening, Sept. 12. The Peace of Heart Choir and other performers, including bagpipers from the NYPD, PAPD, and FDNY, Janine Stange, and Tone Academy faculty, will perform in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, in recognition of the thousands who survived, and in remembrance of the extraordinary acts of bravery and compassion in the aftermath of the attacks.

Who: Peace of Heart Choir

What: Free public concert of vocal music

When: Friday, Sept. 12;

Concert begins at 6:00 p.m.; Choir performs at 7:30 p.m. Where: National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center 200 Liberty Street at Greenwich Street

More than 40 voices will join in unison to perform songs devoted to peace. Music will include American classics like “Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster; the inspiring anthems “Give Us Hope” by Jim Papoulis, and “Peace Salaam Shalom” by Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow; as well as songs from around the world. The Choir is led by musical facilitator Robert René Galván.

An alto's first benefit concert

How do I describe my first big concert with Peace of Heart?

First, the trip with other choristers “down under”, 4 floors down in the elevator, not really knowing where we were going. Then being met by people who knew the way, shepherding us down long corridors to the Green Room, and, eventually, the auditorium. Next, a flurry of activity: taking in some emergency food and water, going over some problem passages and musical questions with others in my section. Then emerging into this grand hall: working out who was going to stand where, how to handle the mikes. A lot of last minute details to take in. Then regrouping and chilling before the concert.

Chorus members were very supportive in congratulating me on the solo phrase in “Downtown”. After the final rehearsal, someone in the Green Room asked:” How does it feel to do your solo?” I answered, “Pick up the mike, remember to turn it on, place it close (like eating an ice cream cone), get the phrase out, remember to turn it off and replace on the piano—all while juggling my music in the other hand.” It all happened so fast, there was no time to think about it, just do it. Later on, when I thought about it, several images came to mind: It was like changing gears from group mode to solo mode and back again; or, to put it more poetically - it was like riding a wave - finding the right moment to jump on and then off; or, like a fish jumping out of the water for a flash and then diving back in to rejoin the group.

Then the concert. At the start of the first number “Wanemo” (“Geronimo!”) I heard the soloists (“Oops! Get Ready. When do we come in?”) was running through my mind. Then, when the group voice and harmony came into play, the sound was absolutely gorgeous. But I can’t be performer and audience at the same time so most of my attention was on staying tuned to the collective sound and the changing tempos and rhythms of each piece.

For me it was such a pleasure to be surrounded and supported by the wall/blanket of sound that this choir produced. A lot of my focus was on navigating my alto part in relationship to the group. Hearing and listening were so important and it was wonderful to have great acoustics of this hall. The Second Altos to my left were stalwart and sure: I found some of my shaky notes and entrances with them as a guide. My eyes were focussed on Rene, especially with some of the difficult rhythmic sections. ( I had given up trying to count a couple of the pieces and just needed to rely on the feel of it, and his cues.)

One of the things that was so engaging and different about the concert was the relationship with the audience. The seats in Engelman Recital Hall were raked at such a steep angle that I could see my friends from head to toe. The audience was totally open to our view as we were to them. I could see their reactions during the talks and sing-a-longs. It’s a wonderful experience to sing before a receptive audience of friends and well wishers. One thing that was so unique with this group is that individual members get to pop out, as did the soloists, to speak to the audience, as did our director, who shared his instruments and comments with them so they could be a part of it all. ( I was reminded of “Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra” that Leonard Bernstein conducted) A friend called thanking us for inviting him to the delightful concert: “I had a great time. I love the way the group was run.” Another person who was in the audience said she noticed the spirit of friendliness in the chorus.

One thing I noticed at rehearsals was how tired a lot of people were after a hard day’s work. Rene really worked us hard and demanded total concentration. (But not in an authoritarian dictatorial way). Afterwards I felt as if I had had a workout. But I always had a sense that the music that had seemed so impossible to me now made more sense. (Maybe I could actually learn it). It took me a while to realize how all the logistics were being handled by members of the group and how much they were doing.

But all of the hard work paid off. It was wonderful to have a finished product that we could be proud of. Another friend left me a message after the concert: “My mother thought it was nicely done, with great refinement. This is high praise from her.” Before the performance it was amazing to see everyone wide awake and alive. The energy was really “up”. I took Rene’s directive - “ do not over sing” - to heart, and it helped me pace myself and be relaxed enough to handle whatever might come up.

The final rehearsal in the hall and concert was an endurance test for some of us. We had never sung through the whole concert or stood for so long. So, in the actual performance, while we were singing “It Takes a Village,” I began to pick up that there was some kind of commotion and scuffle going on to my right. When I turned a little to see what was going on, I saw one of the Altos behind me sinking towards to the ground. I originally missed out on a lot of the details because I couldn’t believe this was happening — an “Alternative Universe” experience. I was still singing. Rene was directing the upbeat syncopated tempo, totally focussed on the song. I don’t know if anyone except us knew what was happening. The group didn’t miss a beat as one of the Altos guided her gracefully to the floor. Happily, she was able to recoup after the song, climb over the rail and exit up the stairs. After intermission she was fine and was able to rejoin the group. Talk about Drama.

I enjoyed the presentations to Rene and to us “new-bies” in the Green Room afterwards. I felt very welcomed by the group. It was a full day, well spent.

-Lenore Manzella,  Peace of Heart 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