Chorus looks for a few good voices
CLIFTON PARK On Thursday mornings, the Shenendehowa Adult Community Center comes alive with voices raised in song.
Stop awhile and listen and you’ll likely hear a favorite from “The Sound of Music,” or maybe one from Oliver! the musical.
The singers are members of the Shen Senior Chorus, a dedicated group of men and women that gathers for an hour-and-a-half each week to rehearse for shows they put on at the community center as well as out in the community.
The group is busy lining up concert sites for May, but their membership has dwindled and they’re eager to recruit more vocalists to join their ranks.
“We are so desperate for sopranos,” said 67-year-old Lorraine Janack of Ballston, one of the few sopranos in the 17-member group.
Tenor and bass singers are also few in number.
Janack has been involved with the chorus for 10 years and said she enjoys the camaraderie and the music.
“Right now, it’s Broadway tunes. It’s toe-tapping stuff and we do have sing-alongs, so that the audience can get involved,” she said.
The group sings free of charge for audiences during December and May, often at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
It’s a rewarding endeavor, ensured Janack, who said she enjoys watching the people’s faces light up when they hear songs that they remember.
“A lot of the folks at the nursing homes just don’t have a lot of joy and just to see them smile is the reward,” she commented.
Schuyler Ridge in Clifton Park and the Home of the Good Shepherd in Malta are two of several regular venues, but the group is also willing to sing at new sites, Janack said.
Mary Hubbard, 91, of Clifton Park, was one of the founding members of the chorus, which has been entertaining the community for over 30 years, she estimated.
“They just wanted to get together and sing,” she reminisced. “I remember the minister at Jonesville Church was our first director.”
There was a time when the singers numbered around 40, she noted, lamenting that many people now lead such busy lives they don’t have room for the group in their schedules.
The time commitment the chorus requires is a fairly modest one. The singers practice once a week from September to December and put on holiday concerts during December.
Practices start up again in January and go until May, when spring concerts are held.
Group dues, which help to pay for the choral director and the accompanist, are $20 a semester. Community center membership, which costs $25 a year, is also required.
Because the chorus has so few members presently, it’s a struggle to make payroll, noted Hubbard, who balances the books for the group. Cash donations would be gladly accepted, she said.
Contributions can be sent to the community center at 6 Clifton Common Court, Clifton Park, NY, 12065, with a note indicating that the money is intended to benefit the chorus.
Tiffany Torrey, assistant director of the community center, said the singers are an important part of the establishment.
“It’s a neat little group. They come in, they get along great, they have great music. … We like having them here.”