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.

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

The end of another great season!

What a marvelous performance that was on Sunday! There was so much spirit and such beautiful sound – thanks to both the quality of the singing and the wonderful acoustics! A number of audience members afterwards paid us the compliment of saying they heard every word, like we were one voice. Thank you Rene for your patience and perseverance in coaching us.

Engelman Hall is a gem of a concert hall and both the audience and the choir seemed to thrive in it – even with such a large crowd. However, we did see a few glitches, largely tied to the new venue and the sold-out house. The refreshments were gorgeous – our singer/home cooks outdid themselves- witnessed by the huge line during intermission. The accompaniment by Rene, Matt and Brian added its own lovely flair and the introductions really brought the audience into the music and mission of the Peace of Heart Choir.

This was only possible because of the incredibly hard work so many choir member put into making it all happen. From finding the concert hall and negotiating the contract, to designing and printing the elaborate program, to telling family and friends to come so that we sold out the hall – it all made a huge difference.

We always love to receive feedback on your experience at the Benefit and with the rest of your choir interactions.

-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

And we have new singers!

This January, we conducted auditions for our Spring season and successfully recruited 15 new singers. Our biggest challenge has always been advertising in the right venues and our auditions coordinator Deb Reiner did a great job of finding the right offline advertising spaces. We had great results with Metro NY.Online we continue to get a trickle of people on Craigslist.Org and Van.Org. And this time we finally replenished our dwindling bass and tenor sections.Three new tenors and at least one new bass singer.As usual we had great success in finding Sopranos and Altos and our choir has swelled to over 50 people.We are now looking for larger rehearsal spaces that can take our new numbers.Looking forward to a great season!

Our Holiday Benefit is around the corner

We wanted to share some exciting news about the Choir as we approach the culmination of our Fall 2013 Season with “Over the Rainbow & Around the World,” our benefit concert set for December 8.As you are aware, the Choir was formed over a decade ago in the aftermath of 9/11, when our community in New York City was seeking both healing and shared moments of joy and understanding.

Peace of Heart's music now at 9/11 Memorial museum

We were thrilled, therefore, when the Choir was asked to share its work with the National September 11 Memorial Museum, scheduled to open in 2014.  We have donated to the Museum two of our pieces, “It Takes a Village,” which – appropriately enough – was composed by our founder Jeff Becker, and “Bright Morning Star,” a timeless song of remembrance for all of our loved ones and ancestors whose memories live on in us.

Eleven outreach performances this fall season

This season's outreach has been very successful.Peace of Heart performed at eleven different locations excluding our benefit and we had a great turnout of choir singers for each! We have over 40 active members at last counting.And with auditions next month we hope to add more to our fold.

Our kickstarter campaign was successful

We thus ask for your help in keeping the Choir’s music going strong.  There are many ways to give, and just this fall, we have run a successful Kickstarter campaign to help the Choir raise funds to produce a first-ever CD of the music from its Fall 2013 season.

Remember that, for a donation of $100, you will receive two free tickets to our next benefit concert, and, for a donation of $250, you will receive two free tickets to each of our next two benefit concerts.

You can give to the Choir in any of the following ways:

  • Donate online here
  • By check payable to “Peace of Heart Choir,” 123 7th Avenue, #260, Brooklyn, New York 11215;
  • Remember that donations are tax deductible.

Come to our Fall Benefit Concert

We also raise funds through our seasonal benefits which helps us run the choir each year. This is a great way to give and enjoy some wonderful choral music with your friends are family. Tickets can be bought online here

Peace of Heart on KickStarter!

Peace of Heart Choir, one of the premier a cappella choirs in New York City, needs your help to record and produce a CD of its Fall 2013 season. Our music has recently been curated into the permanent collection of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. We're also auditioning for a national radio show, which has asked for a new CD of our music. So now is the time to do this! Head over to Kickstarter and help us with make this happen!

Spring 2013 Song Selection

New York City is in the dog days of summer, but The Peace of Heart Choir is already thinking about Spring 2013! [img responsive="true"][/img]

A full season in advance, members nominate and vote on songs that will not only be performed during an upcoming season, but will also become part of the ever-growing general POHC repertoire. Charts are used to keep track of votes for the many excellent song nominations. In accordance with the Song Selection Guidelines, members choose six songs from the existing repertoire, six new songs not previously performed by POHC, and two sing-along songs that can be old or new to the group.

Another twist to the proposal and selection process is ensuring that the upcoming repertoire includes songs in English, Spanish and additional foreign languages (all according to the Guidelines--a document created and ratified by POHC members). Members use various media tools to present music and lyrics when nominating a song.

This season, we had a great turnout--approximately 15 members gathered around a conference table in Midtown Manhattan to share their proposed lyrics and music, via all forms of media. We even sang a few songs to see how we liked them. The decision making was difficult because all of the choices were so good! Votes were cast and the POHC Spring 2013 repertoire is ready to be announced:

Returning Songs: 59th Street Bridge Song Aquarius de Colores (Spanish) Everyday People Stand By Me (Spanish/English) The Lion Sleeps Tonight

New Songs: Die Gedanken (German) El Beso (Spanish) Madrigal Fire Put a Little Love in Your Heart This is My Song Tumbalalaika (Yiddish)

Sing-along Songs: New York, New York Turn! Turn! Turn!

Why does POHC conduct song selection a full season ahead?

Simple! Our Musical Facilitator, Robert René Galván, uses the time to research and prepare SATB choral arrangements for each of the new songs, andsometimes makes updates on returning arrangements so they will be ready for the specific blend of voices and talents to be participating. Now that we have a sneak peak at Spring 2013, we can focus on Fall 2012 with our upcoming auditions starting August 9. We hope to see you at our fundraising concert in December, but for now, we encourage you to enjoy your summer!

Warm up your voices.Fall 2012 Auditions are here!

Peace of Heart Choir is preparing for the Fall 2012 Season by holding auditions for new volunteer singers. Call or email to schedule an appointment and come prepared to sing 60 seconds or so of your favorite song, in any language, in any style or genre, as long as it's a capella (without instruments or CD/tape). You will sing for a small group consisting of three or four members of the choir and our Musical Director. We need someone like you! We accept talented amateurs and professionals alike.You’ll need to be able to:

  • blend with other voices
  • sing a cappella (without instruments or accompaniment)
  • harmonize
  • sing arrangements for multiple voice parts
  • commit to the choir's mission
  • be sufficiently available to rehearse and sing on short notice for at least some engagements.

    Ability to read music is helpful but not as important. Instrumental, dance, or other performers are also welcome. People of all races, ages, ethnicities, genders, gender expressions, sexual orientations, income levels, religions, beliefs, political affiliations, national origins, immigration statuses, and abilities/disabilities are welcome.

    We are looking for all voice parts, especially tenors and basses, who believe in our mission and are interested in singing diverse and popular music a cappella as well as with accompaniment.

    Audition Schedule

    • Thursday, August 9
    • Friday, August 10
    • Saturday, August 11


    All auditions will take place in midtown Manhattan. To schedule an audition, please email or call (212) 252-3191.