AUBURN COMMUNITY CHORUS
An arena-ready voice is not required to join Auburn’s newest vocal group. Singers don’t even need to audition. The Auburn Public Theater’s community chorus, which begins rehearsing September 20th, emphasizes the first word of its title more than finesse. Organizer Amy Bellamy, a choir instructor and music professor at Cayuga Community College, is ready to leave her lecture voice at the door when she leads the choir through its songs.?I want to keep it light-hearted and fun,?Bellamy said. Something where people can come and learn a little about singing and have a really good time doing it.
Bellamy – a graduate of Union Springs High School and SUNY Binghamton’s Master of Music program – has sung since she was 2 and long harbored a dream to do so for a living. She had unsuccessfully bounced the idea for a community chorus around for a couple years before bringing it up to Auburn Public Theater Artistic Producing Director Angela Daddabbo, who shared Bellamy’s ambition. Daddabbo’s enthusiasm for starting a community chorus was elevated by the theater’s recent screening of Young @ Heart, a documentary about an all-senior choir group from New England. Her cousin, Lisa Vitale, had presented the community chorus idea to Daddabbo for a year prior, and APT Vice President Janie MicGlire added her voice as another interested party.
It’s the right intersection of people at the right time, Daddabbo said. The four plotted the chorus for 10-week sessions of weekly practice in anticipation of a concluding concert. A few weeks of rest follow to lighten the commitment for members who may not have the time for year-round rehearsals. Daddabbo expects a core group of returning singers to be joined by a changing group that comes and goes. As the chorus expands, Bellamy expects smaller groups could branch off for more intimate performances at places like nursing homes or churches.
?It’s an inspiration to people in nursing homes to see people their age group doing all kinds of stuff, Bellamy said. Sometimes they can’t find the motivation to get out of bed. Those side projects of sorts could also one day tackle an experimental songbook like that of the Young@Heart choir, Bellamy said. She has selected more conventional choral music for the group’s first practices, but hopes to work with members on selecting songs that pique their interest for future programs. Regardless of what the chorus sings, Bellamy and Daddabbo believe the setting itself is what’s important. I think it’s absolutely awesome to meet other people who like to sing and are interested in music and arts, Bellamy said. It’s also a chance to sing with a group of people who’ve sang all their life, maybe in a church pew or to the radio, but never on stage or with a group. This mission of the chorus takes such precedence over any musical merit that the organizers chose not to audition members. The idea pleases Daddabbo, who’d rather hear her own voice blend into a chorus than by itself. The thought of getting together with a group of people in the community – of all ages and all levels of skill – for the sake of singing sounds really uplifting to me, Daddabbo said.
Auburn Public Theater
108 Genesee Street
Auburn, New York 13021
Artistic Producing Director: Angela Daddabbo
Managing Director: Carey Eidel
Acting Classes, Volunteer Co-ordinator , House Manager – Janie MicGlire
Construction/Physical Space: Brian Anderson
Art Galley Curator: Diane Bauso
Theater Rental: Carey Eidel