The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 12, 2009

Intergenerational community chorus being formed

Carlisle residents who love singing will have a new musical venue in the fall. The Carlisle Community Chorus will hold its first rehearsal on September 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with registration starting at 6 p.m. Singers ages 12 and up are invited, says Carlisle School music teacher and choral director Megan Fitzharris Harlow. “I’ve got [Council on Aging] COA members and high schoolers coming,” she said in a recent interview, as well as middle school students from the Carlisle School.

The creation of the chorus is an idea Harlow has been thinking about for some time, she explained. “Singing SATB (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) is not possible at the middle school level,” she said, and she wanted to create that experience for her students and the community. She brought the concept to Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle, who supported the idea. The school is donating the rehearsal and performance space as well as maintaining a website for the chorus.

The chorus will be self-funding, with dues costing “no more than $50 a season,” she explained. Scholarships will be available for those who need financial assistance. The Concord-Carlisle High School Music Department has offered to share their music library with the group.

All invited & no auditions needed

What really is exciting, Harlow said, is the concept of blending young and older voices. The Carlisle School Advanced Middle School Choir recently performed for the COA, finishing with an audience sing-a-long. Harlow said she enjoyed hearing the different voices during the singing and afterwards a few COA members approached her to hear more about the plans for the new community chorus. No auditions are required for the chorus, just an interest in singing, she explained.

Harlow envisions two performances, one in January and one in May, with possible caroling at Emerson Hospital during December. The chorus is open to non-residents as well. “I’ve already received phone calls,” she said. “A lot of recent Carlisle School grads want to sing.” The COA has offered to arrange carpools to help older residents get to and from rehearsals. The music will be songs “that make them bond,” she said. One piece that she plans to start with is “The Star-Spangled Banner.” To prepare for the fall, Harlow will use professional training time this summer for a planning session.

Harlow has been teaching general music, musical theater and choral ensembles at the Carlisle Public Schools since 2002. She currently directs five choral groups at the school in grades 4-8, including the Carlisle Middle School Choir. See for more information. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito