Singing in Summer
It's a singing opportunity typical venues don't offer.
Then again, the High Country Jubilee Chorus has specialized in special for 14 years, and this summer's no different.
"It started in 1997, and we had an interest in providing a singing opportunity you normally wouldn't get in other venues ... where we have community members, as well as summer (residents), as well as children - we all get a chance to sing together," founding member and singer Roland Moy said. "This is a unique opportunity for vocal music."
High Country Jubilee offers anyone the chance to test those vocal chords in the best way possible - performance.
Throughout June, participants will rehearse and practice with each other, before performing to a live audience toward the latter half of the month.
Musical genres typically include sacred, traditional, pop and showtunes, offering a variety of styles not typically available for local singers to perform, Moy said.
For instance, on top of its more traditional numbers, the 2009 concert featured a 45-minute tribute to The Sound of Music. Previous shows have also shared a Broadway focus, including numbers from Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady and South Pacific.
This year's performances include "Gloria In Excelsis," "The Last Words of David," "God Bless America," "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "Little Innocent Lamb," before the second half swoops in with the music of composer George Gershwin, to the tune of 30 songs arranged in a medley.
"It's something we haven't done before," Moy said. "We've done a Broadway revue, but never have really focused on any one composer. He's got a lot of good tunes ... so, we'll touch on a lot of things that Gershwin wrote."
In addition to group singing, High Country Jubilee also offers opportunities for solo and duet performances. It's also "more free-form," Moy said, noting that performers often move around on stage, interacting with each other (depending on the number), rather than standing in a group for the entirety.
Amateurs are also welcome, "as long as you can sing in a section," Moy said. "There are a lot of folks used to singing in a section and not on there own ... so, they can fit right in."
And this year, rehearsal CDs will be available for singers to take home or practice on the way home.
"We think it'd be a good opportunity for folks to exercise their chops a little bit and have some fun along the way," Moy said. "Plus, it's a High Country thing. We have always had singers from more than one county - Avery, Watauga, Ashe and Wilkes.
"So, it's a broader reach to bring folks from the whole region together, basically, for just a short time. We rehearse for three weeks, put on two shows, and then we're done."
Under the direction of Dr. Pamela Hopton-Jones, who also heads the High Country High School Chorale, High Country Jubilee fits six rehearsals into three weeks, typically on Monday and Thursday, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
"It's fairly intensive, but we always have a good time, because the music is a lot of fun," Moy said. "It can be challenging to do it well, and we hope to do it well, but that's the whole point of rehearsing - it's fun to sing well."
Last year's Jubilee Chorus had about 30 members, though previous years have seen as many as 40. Moy's hoping to reach that number again.
"As word gets out that it's a fun and challenging experience, who knows?" he said. "We may have more than that."
Participants pay only $15 for registration, which helps cover the chorus's expenses (the Watauga Arts Council also assists). Additional money raised enters a scholarship fund to benefit children involved in the Watauga Arts Council's summer music and performance workshops. Last year's program raised $400, Moy said.
The High Country Jubilee Chorus will host its organizational meeting on Thursday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Boone United Methodist Church, located at 471 New Market Blvd. in Boone.
Registration fees will be accepted at this meeting, and participants will receive music, rehearsal CDs and a brief music review.
Rehearsal schedule is June 1, 3, 7, 10, 14 and 17 at 6:30 p.m., also at Boone United Methodist Church.
Performances take place Friday, June 18, at 7 p.m. at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, and Saturday, June 19, at 7 p.m. in Rosen Concert Hall on the Appalachian State University campus in Boone.
For more information, call Moy at (828) 264-8811 or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)