Out & About: Seasonal series welcomes all singers 

Mark Nelson leads a session of Summer Sings! outside at the Montshire Museum of Science during the summer of 2021. This year, the Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley's singalong programs will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays Aug. 9 through Aug. 30 at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth in Hanover. (Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley photograph)

Mark Nelson leads a session of Summer Sings! outside at the Montshire Museum of Science during the summer of 2021. This year, the Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley's singalong programs will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays Aug. 9 through Aug. 30 at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth in Hanover. (Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley photograph) Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley photograph

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-30-2023 2:10 AM

HANOVER — Upper Valley singers of all abilities will have an opportunity to join voices for four Wednesdays in August.

The Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley, a nonprofit organization that supports choruses in the area, is bringing back its “Summer Sings!” series. Four directors of vocal ensembles and accompanists will lead singalongs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays Aug. 9 through Aug. 30 in the Batchelder Lounge at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, located at 40 College St. in Hanover. Musical scores will be provided and admission is a suggested donation of $10.

The Summer Sings! were started during the summer of 2021 as a way to safely bring choral singers together during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, it was more difficult for choruses to gather due to safety concerns about the virus and traditional concerts were not taking place. The first gathering took place outside at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich.

“It was quite emotional,” Jane Woods, who directs the Bel Canto Chamber Singers, said about the first Summer Sings! in 2021.

It was also quite magnetic. Even once choruses started gathering again and preparing for concerts, the informal events continued, thanks in part to their camaraderie.

“We don’t often get to meet together because we’re always doing the same basic schedule,” said Woods who along with Jeanne Chambers will lead the Aug. 23 session with a program titled “Choral Classics & Contemporary Favorites 2.0.” “It’s a nice opportunity for people from different groups to meet together which is a lot of fun.”

Each of the directors chose their own pieces and themes. Dan Falcone, director of North Country Chordsmen and VoxStars, will lead the group in “Broadway Hits & Barbership Bits” on Aug. 9.

The following week, Kevin Quigley, director of the Thetford Chamber Singers, will feature “Riding the Wave of Emotionally Moving Music.” And on Aug. 30, Mark Nelson, director of Harmony Night and Bach Study Group, will lead a program titled “Two Luscious Contemporary Works.”

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“These directors, each one has a unique style and have chosen repertoire that they particularly love,” said Jo Shute, president of the Choral Arts Foundation of the Upper Valley. “People like singing different (styles) and they like the experience of trying different music with different directors.”

People do not need to have experience singing with a chorus to attend, but some knowledge of how to read music and sing in a group would be helpful. Summer Sings! tend to draw people who sing with choruses during the season, typically from fall to spring. Last year, some sessions drew as many as 60 people.

“For some members of groups that’s more people than they usually sing with on a regular basis,” Shute said. “It’s a great way to kind of get your voice and your brain back in gear for the upcoming season.”

There is no rehearsal before performing: People jump into the pieces right away with little instruction. Part of the fun, Woods said, is not knowing what the sound will be like.

“It always works out well,” she said.

The Summer Sings! are also meant to be low key. There is no registration required ahead of time and people can attend which sessions they wish to.

“It’s not a performance, it’s a sing for fun,” Shute said.

Editor’s note: For more information, including a list of what pieces will be performed, visit choralartsuv.org.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.