New community choir plans first concert

Lisa Depies
Pam Edwards, standing, directs the Geneseo Summer Community Choir during a recent rehearsal. The choir will perform July 15.

A comment made by one of Pam Edwards’ former students has developed into Geneseo’s first summer community choir.

“Marta (Mallum) McConville asked me a summer ago why there wasn’t a community choir in Geneseo. She said, ‘I sing in my church choir, but there isn’t any place for me to sing in the summer.’ That got me  thinking,” said Edwards.

A long-time Geneseo Middle School choir teacher, Edwards retired at the end of the 2009 school year.

“I thought, ‘I’m retired. Why don’t I? start a community choir?’” she said.

For the past 103 years, Geneseo has had a community band, but Edwards wasn’t sure how many would participate in a summer choir.

“We had about 70 show up at the first rehearsal. I wasn’t expecting anything like that,” she said.

The members range from freshmen entering high school to singers in their 80s.

“We have high-school students, college students home for the summer and adults who’ve been singing for eons,” said Edwards.

“A lot of them do sing in their church choirs, but most of the church choirs don’t sing in the summer. So they were looking for something different,” she said.

“When I first asked people what they thought of a community choir, they were gung-ho on the idea. A lot of them were looking for a way to keep their voices in shape during the summer,” she said.

In addition to those who sing regularly, the choir also has several members “who’ve never sung in an organized choir before,” said Edwards.

“I think it’s exciting that people are willing to try something new,” she said.

Geneseo’s summer choir is, to Edwards’ knowledge, the only choir of its type in the area.

The group rehearses on Wednesday nights at ?First Lutheran Church.

The Geneseo Summer Community Choir will have its first performance at 7 p.m. July 15 in the sanctuary at First Lutheran Church.

“We will sing everything from classical to pop,” said Edwards. The program will include “Think of Me” from “Phantom of the Opera,” “Ave Verum”?by Mozart, “Jamaican Market Place,” “God Bless the? USA” and men’s and women’s songs. Soloists will be featured throughout the concert.

A free-will offering will be taken at the concert, with proceeds benefiting the Geneseo Food Pantry and Rebuilding Together.

The choir is accompanied by pianist Melinda Wildermuth.

Vocalists Jean Mercer, left, Nicole Barks, Nancy Gustafson and Virginia Nelson sing during a Geneseo Summer Community? Choir rehearsal.