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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A musical wish to reach the ears of many

Tick-tock the time is near. As the end of the fall semester draws to the campus, the musical sounds of the violin and piano will accompany the Encore choir for their winter performance.

Every semester, the Encore choir performs a culminating concert of the music rehearsed during the fall semester. This concert, “Songs of the Season: Old and New,” will be featuring music that reflects the holiday season. They will perform music from Madrigals from different countries to excerpts of G.F. Handel’s “Oratorios,” to pop music.

The Pierce Encore singers will host their winter concert at the Performing Arts Building Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.

Noreen Green is the director of the choir and is also the Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

According to Green, the concert is currently sold out due to the small venue; however, they plan on moving to a bigger location next semester. The singers and members of the choir have been preparing all semester for this event.

Pianist Frank Garvey has been preparing for the event by rehearsing, practicing, blocking and choreographing.

“Although it’s in the final stages, it’s more about running entire pieces at this point,” Garvey said. “I practice just over two hours a week, but it’s a high-intensity and fast-moving rehearsal all the way.”

According to Janice Banerer, one of the violinist, the best way to prepare is to practice, practice and practice.

“I practice whenever I can, like when I’m walking the dogs. I practice the songs Noreen has asked us to memorize,” Banerer said.

While being part of a group has its challenges, Green’s challenge is to keep everyone engaged, focused, and excited about what they are singing.

Although this is Green’s first year, the Encore singers program was started by Cathryn Tortell, about six years ago. She is fortunate that the Encore Program administration and Tortell reached out to her to take over with nearly three weeks left before the semester started.

“Since it’s my first year, I am continuing and building on what Cathryn started,” Green said. “She will be at the concert and it will be nice to have her there. Taking over a choir is like taking over the raising of a person’s child. You become like family very quickly.”  

For Garvey, the sheer size of the group can be challenging to someone who isn’t such a force of nature as the director.

“There is a good mixture of people who can read music, but Noreen takes the time to mix musical education into their learning, so the general level of musicianship is always rising,” Garvey said.

According to Garvey, for him, it’s the genuine love for music and good energy that makes everyone come together as a choir.

“It’s impossible not to love this music. There’s a wonderful variety of moods, styles, and cultural backgrounds in the music to be performed,” Garvey said.

However, for Green, the choice of repertoire is the most important and allows those with more experience to sing more challenging music.  According to Green, she thinks the group has something pretty special because they love to sing and perform, which then translates into a great performance.

“We live in a world where we need to find opportunities to connect with others, and coming to a live concert helps us with other people,” Green said.

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