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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: June 17, 2014

Finally! Your chance to be a part of a singing ensemble: Choral Art Society summer sing-along

Written by: Bob Keyes

In the world of choral music, there’s nothing much better than a group of like-minded singers getting together for the sheer joy of it.

Actually, it might be one of those bucket-list items you’ve wanted to do as an adult because you have fond memories of singing in the school chorus as a kid. Or, you’ve never tried it but always thought it would be fun to be part of a large singing ensemble.

On Monday, the Choral Art Society will host a community sing of Brahms’ “Requiem” and all are invited. The so-called Summer Sing begins at 7 p.m. at Woodfords Congregational Church with a singing skills workshop, and the sing-along begins at 7:30 p.m.

This is the third year Choral Art Society has hosted the sing. It provides an opportunity for people to exercise their vocal ambitions, and the Choral Art Society uses the event to recruit new members.

It is the brainchild of Choral Art singer and past president Andrea Graichen. She used to travel to Boston for sing-alongs with the Masterworks Chorale. “We used to pile in the car and head down,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

She emphasized that the sing-along is open to anyone. A lot of people who show up have sung previously in their lives, maybe in high school or college or casually since. But prior experience is not required.

Robert Russell, the Choral Art Society director, will lead the sing-along. He hopes 100 people show up.

“I suspect a third of those will be from our membership. If each of those brings a friend, that’s another third, and we’re hoping the third third comes out of curiosity,” Russell said. “We certainly will make people aware that we exist, and a couple of months from now we have auditions.”

Music educator, conductor and Choral Art Society member Sarah Bailey will lead the skills workshop, which gives people a chance to exercise their vocal chords and familiarize themselves with the music. It is not a rehearsal as much as a refresher.

At 7:30, Russell takes the podium and leads the chorus through the piece, which will last about 75 minutes. Guest soloists include soprano Danielle Vayenas and baritone Joshua Miller. Scores will be available to borrow, but participants are encouraged to bring their own.

Russell adores the “Requiem.”

“It’s one of the greatest pieces of music of all time,” he said.

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