Every Tuesday night, harmonies echo from the eaves of St. Thomas More Catholic Church. “These are people with very prestigious careers and professional lives and families at home,” says Sue Klausmeyer, conductor of the adult chorus Voices. “It’s a tremendous amount of energy from a group of very intellectual, very busy people. They come together to focus on making music.”
Once called the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community Chorus, Voices is a group of about 115 adults who audition for a spot in the ensemble. Auditions ensure a certain level of music competency, but most of these members are amateur singers, passionate hobbyists who “need a night out to do something which they love,” Sue says. Voices meets weekly to rehearse for a few hours. “The common ground is singing and making music together.”
Sue is no amateur: Her background in piano, singing and conducting puts her definitively in the professional musician category. It’s her expertise that elevates the choir to a group that frequently sells out performances, although she claims it’s simply dedicated practice time. “Voices is an amateur choir that has devoted quite a bit of time and energy into making wonderful music at a professional level,” she explains. That you’re likely to relate to the singers – or even recognize a few faces – is perhaps what makes it all the more remarkable.
Next up is the annual holiday performance on Dec. 19. “This year is special,” Sue says. They’re trekking to The Carolina Theatre in Durham rather than their usual Memorial Hall. “It’s a new venue [for us], and a beautiful one.” The historic setting will enhance a concert program that’s heavy on brass and percussion because those are the most memorable backdrops to festive music. “It’s great for the whole family,” Sue says. “There will be music from British carols to carols from the Appalachian area of North Carolina, and lots of opportunities for the audience to sing along. It will be a fun evening.”
Want to go? Tickets to the yuletide Voices performance are $20 and available online at voiceschapelhill.org