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Schola Cantorum Brings Back Monday Night Sing-Alongs

July 3, 2017

As summer rolls around and many choral groups take a hiatus until fall, Schola Cantorum springs into action. Over six Monday evenings, beginning on July 10, Schola’s Summer Sings program provides an opportunity for Bay Area singers to join together as a community to sing some of the greatest choral masterpieces.

Participation is easy as pie: You can sing with Schola Cantorum without the commitment of rehearsals and without the pressure of performing for an audience: the goal is to enjoy singing fantastic music under the baton of top choral conductors.

All Summer Sings programs begin at 7:30 p.m., at the Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos. Schola will provide the scores. The cost is $15 general; ages 25 and under free with valid student ID.

Participants come from as far away as Napa. Susie Conwell is one of them and has been making the commute for the past six years. “I would love to be in a chorus, but I work the swing shift, so this is a gift to me. If you enjoy choral music, and possibly, like myself, don’t have a schedule that allows you to sing choral music, this provides the opportunity without a long-term commitment.”

For John Ehrman, a long-time Schola choral member, the sing-alongs are a form of therapy. “There’s something about singing in a group like this, feeling the mixture and the harmony of the voices, that you can’t get singing alone. As a bass singer, my voice will generate a certain number of overtones. But in a chorus, I can physically feel in my body the resonance from the other voices.”

Davie Rolnick, who attended last year’s Sing while on vacation from Boston, says, “There’s something very wonderful about a deliberate sing-through. We haven’t rehearsed beforehand, so it’s a particular kind of music-making that doesn’t happen much anymore.”

Initially, Schola was the only Bay Area chorus holding Summer Sings. Expanding on the original idea, they included a Messiah Sing in December, and two recent additions: a Broadway Sing in November and a Valentine’s Day Sing in February, inviting the public to join in on the fun.

“We might not get the notes right,” says conductor Buddy James. The goal, he says, is the common interest, a great piece of music, and spending the evening singing.

The series begins with James conducting Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Duruflé’s Requiem on July 10. The following week, Jeffrey Benson conducts Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers.

On July 24, Shulamit Hoffmann conducts Requiems by Mozart and Fauré. On July 31, Gregory Wait conducts the Brahms Requiem. S.F. Symphony Chorus Emeritus Conductor Vance George leads Brahms’ Nänie, and Beethoven’s Mass in C on Aug. 7. The series concludes on Aug. 14,  Lou De La Rosa conducting Bach’s Magnificat, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. 

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].