“SummerSing” – sustenance for songsters between the seasons

By Thom Mariner

Those who sing each week in churches and synagogues typically take a break each summer as choirs close down to accommodate vacation travel, music festivals, etc. But three months is a long time away for many hooked on the community they find in making music with friends.

Christopher Eanes recognized this void and decided to fill it.

As music director of Collegium Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Boychoir, Eanes already has a busy life, not to mention two young children and an equally entrepreneurial wife – KellyAnn Nelson, founder and director of the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective.

But there was this lull, just waiting.

Their brainchild, ironically, came to them while on a break from leading choirs. “SummerSing” is a week-long intensive at which singers and musicians come together for a week of evening rehearsals in preparation for a Saturday evening concert of a choral masterpiece. Last year it was Mozart’s Requiem, and 95 people participated. “We had a little trouble getting everyone on the risers,” Eanes said.

“SummerSing” 2017, hosted at Christ Church Cathedral July 23-29, will focus on “Ein Deutsches Requiem” (A German Requiem) by Johannes Brahms, one of the most beloved of major choral works. Soloists are soprano Alexandra Schoeny and baritone Thom Dreeze.

Eanes and Nelson understand that community is as important to the choral experience as is the music itself. So in addition to serving the music, there are plans for serving up a slew of fun along the way.

Social activities will allow singers to commiserate about the music, swap “war stories” and make connections across the musical community. A closing party will wrap up the experience.

“This is one of the most fun times of the year for me,” said Eanes. “This is an opportunity, without a year-long commitment, for those who may sing regularly, but not have a chance to perform a major work or with an orchestra.

“Getting people to engage in the arts is part of (his and KellyAnn’s) personal mission.”

While singers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the music beforehand, there are no audition requirements. Any singer 13 or older may attend. “If someone can follow the contour of a vocal line and find their place in a (musical) score, they should be comfortable,” said Eanes.

Plus, there will be opportunities to take a private voice lesson and learn singer’s diction, in addition to absorbing best practices from more experienced singers and professional instrumentalists.

Cost to participate ranges from $50 to $75, depending on age.

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