As a young girl, Abbie Betinis noticed that singing “Caroling, Caroling” during the holidays always brought tears to her grandpa’s eyes. Later she would learn that the famous carol was one of many composed by her great uncle Alfred Burt, who was carrying on a family tradition of carol writing begun by his father, the Rev. Bates Burt. In 2001, Betinis, by then a composer herself, decided to pick up the family carol writing tradition.
Kathleen Fargnoli didn't anticipate that her love for singing would lead her to putting together a board or applying for 501(c)(3) status. But that's exactly what happened when she ended up as the volunteer executive director of the Palisades Community Chorus in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
For the composing team of Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, inspiration usually comes in the form of a story that grabs them and won’t let go. Such was the case with “Beneath the African Sky”—a lullaby for a lost refugee girl that has become a cry for justice and a song of hope for children’s choruses around the world.
A shared passion for singing led Ben Olinsky and his friends to create the 18th Street Singers, a Washington DC-based volunteer ensemble. Over the past nine years, the group has changed in size and membership, but the goal has remained the same: to make choral music more accessible to a new generation of audiences.
Brett Stover grew up singing in choirs and has served on the boards of an array of music and arts groups in Cincinnati. Now he brings his business savvy and love of the performing arts to Chorus America's Board of Directors. "The more people who are singing, the better off we will all be," he says.
The Eric Whitacre Singers recently made its debut U.S. tour in March, organized and presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY.) Chorus America asked four of the Singers to provide some insight into life on the road, performing in American venues, and working with a choral "rock star."
When Melinda Pollack-Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, she needed music to face the challenge. That was the inspiration for Sing to Live Community Chorus for women, loved ones, and friends touched by cancer.
Dominick DiOrio is one of the youngest people ever to be hired on the conducting faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He leads NOTUS, a 30-member auditioned ensemble that specializes in music of the last 50 years. Chorus America talked to DiOrio about his own compositions and his passion for finding and performing the music of contemporary composers.
Singer and composer Melanie DeMore enjoys nothing more than gathering together a group of people and forming a spontaneous choir. “I think that singing in a community allows people to have a certain bigness that they cannot have in a solitary way,” she says. In this Chorus America interview, DeMore talks about the importance of spreading the gift of choral singing far and wide.