Premier Event: Sing for Joy with the Dubuque Chorale

by Danielle Phillips

There is no more singular expression of joy than singing. Popular expressions tell us that we “shout for joy!” or “burst into song!” when we can’t contain our goodwill. And joy is certainly in the air these days, as area citizens bask in the summer sun and resume their pre-pandemic lives. Singing for joy is, as they say, only natural.

Enter the Dubuque Chorale and the Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir, happy to announce that their 2021-22 season is on its way! After more than a year hiatus, both groups are set to begin rehearsals, offering the perfect environment for residents of Dubuque (and surrounding areas) to get out of the house, reconnect with their community, and express some joy – in song!

Dr. Amanda Huntleigh

“Choirs provide an unmatched opportunity for community building and connecting with people through music,” explained Dr. Amanda Huntleigh, the Chorale’s Artistic Director, “And the Dubuque Chorale and Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir are here to welcome you back to singing.”

“This fall we will be finding our voices, again or for the first time, and taking time to make those important human connections through music,” Huntleigh continued, emphasizing what makes the Dubuque Chorale so special. “The music is a fulfilling vehicle for being with the members of the organization, but getting to work with all the great people in rehearsals and performances is what has me delighted to start my fourth season with the group.”

Karmella Sellers, director of the Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir, feels similarly. “Children who have been attending Dubuque public schools were unable to sing for most of the year,” she laments. “They have missed the fun, camaraderie, and joy that comes from singing in a choir. We make sure to balance our rehearsals so there is a good portion of learning, work, and fun. I hope kids will come in droves. I’ve missed hearing children sing.”

Karmella Sellers

It’s true that there’s been very little singing, at least in groups, since last March, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is still a primary concern for every choir. In addition to following all recommended CDC guidelines, the Chorale will require each singer to sign a waiver acknowledging they understand the risks undertaken in public singing, and unvaccinated singers are expected to wear masks during rehearsals and performances. The Children’s Choir also has preventative measures in place and, per CDC guidelines, wearing a mask is strongly encouraged for kids.

Chorale rehearsals begin August 26 at Grand View United Methodist Church, 3342 John Wesley Drive in Dubuque. For at least the first two weeks, sopranos and basses should come at 7 PM and altos and tenors should arrive at 8 PM. No auditions are required; all singers high school age and above are welcome.

The Dubuque Chorale Children’s Choir is open to all kids enrolled in grades 3-6 for the academic year in which they participate. Voice placement interviews for the Children’s Choir will be held on September 11, 18, and 25, and the first rehearsal will be Monday, September 27. Further details about both adult and children’s choirs can be found at DubuqueChorale.org.

Events for the upcoming season include a Chorale concert on October 24, the annual Holiday Concerts with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra in December, and Children’s Choir performances at Church of the Resurrection for Thanksgiving and at Carnegie-Stout Library in April.

The season will culminate with the Chorale’s 50th Anniversary Concert in the spring, when it will welcome back its founding director Dennis Williams to guest conduct some of the Chorale’s favorite repertoire from past seasons. They will also perform new works such as “Amendment: Righting Our Wrongs” by Melissa Dunphy, which was jointly commissioned with Chorosynthesis in honor of the anniversary of women’s suffrage.

All new and returning members to either choir are required to register, and are encouraged to pre-register and learn more about dues, schedules, and policies online at DubuqueChorale.org.

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