St. Helena’s Marielle Coeytaux wants the city’s would-be choristers to “Come Out Of The Shower” and join a new community choir.
The first meeting will be at 7:30-9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, at the Carnegie Building, with 90-minute rehearsals continuing on Mondays through April. There are no auditions required for the choir, which is a partnership between Coeytaux and the St. Helena Recreation Department.
“It’s a community thing, where people get together and it doesn’t matter what church you’re in or what your politics are,” Coeytaux said. “It’s what I remember St. Helena being like 40 years ago.”
The practices will culminate with an informal performance for family and friends on April 29. The choir will end in time for bocce season, but depending on how things go it might return after bocce ends in September, Coeytaux said.
Coeytaux envisions a choir of 15-50 singers without regard for age, religion, ethnicity, politics or personality. In fact, diversity of temperament is key to a successful choir, she said.
“You need the shy people who might not sing very loud but know how to listen, so they’re in good pitch,” she said. “And the people who sing loudly can really project their voices, which you also need. I’ll ask people like that to listen to the quieter person next to them so that they can work on their listening.”
Coeytaux has been leading choirs for most of her adult life, her favorite being a community choir in Normandy. Like all of the choirs she’s started, it’s still going today.
The cost is $100 for 15 learning sessions and one informal performance. Rehearsals will cover understanding the vocal instrument, mastering it with breathing exercises, the basics of how to read music (no prior knowledge is required), and practical lessons in the physics of music, such as frequencies and harmonics.
Coeytaux hopes singers are able to attend every Monday. “If they miss a Monday, not only will be missing out themselves but they will be missed by their neighbor who’s counting on them,” she said. “It’s a group activity and we need each other.”