August 3 marks the return of the Cambria Chorale. Singers will be welcomed back to rehearsals for the annual holiday concerts, for those that feel safe to return. Conductor, Ed Hughes, who has led the Chorale for the past four and half years, said, “We want everyone to be comfortable coming back to the Chorale, so if they don’t start in August, they can start later, once they feel good about getting out.” The Chorale, which has been in existence since 1990, is made up of Cambria seniors, ranging in age from around 55 to a few members who are in their nineties. They meet once a week on Tuesdays at 9 a.m.
“We know of between 30 and 40 singers who are anxious to return,” Hughes said. “Everyone seems excited to get back to the music.”
Barbara Macdonough, president of the Chorale board, said, “It’s a great group, and we have a very active board, very cohesive. We might be the envy of a lot of organizations!”
She went on to state that they are always looking for new board members. “New blood is always welcome,” she said.
Hughes was quick to praise the board. “I just work at the pleasure of the board. They are fully engaged and more than competent.”
Several years ago, members were asked to give feedback on what kind of music they should be doing. It was clear that everyone liked a lot of different things, so concerts have been varied and eclectic. Hughes chooses and arranges many of the selections based on the members’ suggestions. He gets a lot of support from the current pianist, Martha Willems, as well.
“We’ve just been waiting on the right time to come back,” said Hughes. “I thought we could do a spring concert but that didn’t work out. Now we think it’s right.”
Chairs will be spaced out in the rehearsal room at the Joslyn Center. Members will have an option to sit anywhere they feel safe and comfortable. Vaccinations are a requirement to return.
Hughes hopes to put together the Christmas concert they were to perform last year before the pandemic shut them down. These holiday concerts are a huge hit with the locals and almost always sell out. As of now, they are scheduled for Dec. 12 and 19 at the Cambria Community Presbyterian Church.
Money raised through these concerts and through private donations help fund the Cambria Youth Music Fund. This fund provides music lessons for students that have a talent in vocal or instrumental music and need financial assistance.
“We are really singing for ourselves but the audience is invited,” Hughes said. “We sing what we love and hope others enjoy it. That is the Chorale’s mission, fun with music and the joy of singing.”
Readers interested in joining the Chorale, can find details and contact information on their website, Cambriachorale.org.