One thing that both the singers and the audience at NoVA Lights Chorale concert don’t have to worry about: The cost. The year-old community chorus does not levy a membership fee or charge admission for its twice-a-year concerts.
“We like to make our chorus accessible to the community,” says the director, Barbara Stefan. “And we don’t require auditions.”
On Sunday (June 10,) the 40-member choir will get the audience ready for summer by singing traveling music in what it calls “Summer Sojourn,” with such songs as “Route 66,” “Summertime,” “Ease on Down the Road” and “Big Easy on My Mind” and the Japanese “Song of the Beach.”
The Arlingtones Barbershop Chorus will make a guest appearance, and NoVA Lights member Kristine Gabster will sing her original composition, “ Movin’ On.” The 4 p.m. concert will be at the same church where NoVA Lights rehearses on Monday nights, Arlington Presbyterian Church, 3507 Columbia Pike.
Funded primarily by contributions, the chorus regularly has a spring concert and a holiday performance in December. It has also staged other events such as a Veterans’ Day concert in 2011 and one marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “We wanted to present a program that remembered what happened but also to focus on hope for peace.” The group sang “Iraqi Peace Song,” “Ose Shalom,” “Prayer for Peace” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” among others.
For her new chorus, Stefan was able to assemble singers, soloists and instrumentalists with a wide range of ages from Arlington, Falls Church, Burke, Springfield, Alexandria and surrounding areas. In her previous position as music director of the Columbia Pike Community Chorus, she received the Elizabeth Campbell Award for Outstanding Community Arts Group by the Arlington branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Chorus members credit Stefan with teaching them musical skills as well as providing a forum for their voices. “I have learned a lot from her about timing and dynamics,” says Valerie Kidwell, NoVA Lights Chorale president. “I am able to learn a piece more quickly than before.”
She adds, “We have all levels of people in the chorus. If you aren’t getting the piece, you can listen to more skilled people around you.”
Stefan, who was an organ major at Hendrix College in Arkansas, comes from a musical family of eight children who learned to sing four-part harmony at home.
After years leading church music, she began work last year as music director of Christ Presbyterian Church in Fairfax and was chosen to lead the new NoVA Lights chorus as well. The choir, which is in the process of getting 501(c)3 status as a nonprofit charitable organization, performs a wide a variety of music, from pop to jazz and from classical to folk. “There seemed to be such a need in the community for music,” Stefan said. “I like providing an outlet for people who just love to sing.”
Details at http://www.novalightschorale.jigsy.com/
--By Mike Doan