Voices in the Laurel enrolling singers for the new season

Aug 14, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Voices in the Laurel SummerVoice Music Campers perform at the conclusion of the camp Aug. 2.

Voices in the Laurel will officially begin its new season with rehearsal Tuesday, Sept. 3. This year’s choristers will perform four ticketed concerts, plus several benefits and special appearances.

These concerts include America Sings!, featuring American folk music, African-American spirituals, art music by American composers and music set to texts by great American writers and poets and a montage of patriotic music, with a special tribute to our nation’s Veterans. For the Holiday Concert, the choirs will sing traditional Christmas and Hanukkah music, plus music from “Ceremony of Carols” and other Christmas music by British composer Benjamin Britten on the 100th anniversary of his birth. A committee of Voices in the Laurel choristers helped plan the annual Valentine concert, I <3 Disney, featuring the music of old and new Disney classics with special dramatizations, costumes and choreography. In May 2014, the season finale will be the 18th annual Voices in Spring Concert where singers will showcase music for the Carnegie Hall Festival in which some singers will participate later in the month.

Voices in the Laurel recently completed its fourth annual SummerVoice Music Camp Aug. 2. Forty-five campers had a miniature version of Voices in the Laurel choirs as each group learned and performed choral music, complete with choreography, in five days. Just as during the regular Voices season, the singers learned a wide variety of music, ranging in style from Broadway to American and international folk songs to art music.

In addition to choral singing, campers were able to choose class lessons one of the following instruments: violin, piano, guitar and percussion. In addition, all participants had classes inspired by Dalcroze Eurythmics, a Swiss philosophy by Jaques Dalcroze. For example, campers learned rhythms by bouncing a racquetball and about the steps of a musical scale by playing hopscotch.

Participants in SummerVoice Music Camp shared their musical experiences with an audience at the end of the week. Instrument classes performed, and each age group demonstrated a Dalcroze-inspired activity and sang. The climax was a combined performance of all age groups singing Stars, a setting that combines Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, with two new settings of texts by Christina Rossetti. Erin Weaver, Caroline Bonomo, and camp violin instructor Molly McClure accompanied the piece on violin, which was the focus of their group lessons that week. The combined group ended the concert singing “Circle of Life” from Lion King. The camp rendition included older elementary and middle school students singing the Swahili chant, the camp percussion class and instructor Grady Wiley providing rhythmic accompaniment and the 1st and 2nd graders improvising an interlude of African animal sounds and movement.

“Our goal is provide a complete and authentic musical experience for our camp and for the Voices in the Laurel regular season,” said Artistic Director Martha Brown. “Our young musicians always perform with live accompaniment, most often with professional instrumentalists. When appropriate, our staff and guest instructors teach instrument parts so the singers are also involved in the accompaniment process. It makes for a well-rounded music education.”

Owen Lubinski, a three-year veteran of Voices in the Laurel, simply said, “It’s just fun!”

Voices in the Laurel is open to all interested singers in grades one through 12. Auditions and interviews for all three choirs in the organization are available by appointment beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, at First Baptist Church in Waynesville. For more information or an appointment, go to www.voicesinthelaurel.org or call 734-9163.