Finding Their Song 

Richmond's choral groups feature myriad sounds.

Greater Richmond Children's Choir

Professional doesn't begin to describe a choir that's been heard everywhere from ABC's "Commander in Chief" to the concert halls of Verona, Italy. "The exciting thing about working with youth is that they are capable of achieving the greatest musical heights when they are given the proper training and inspiration to believe in themselves," says founding director Hope Armstrong Erb.

Most musicians take years to perform on the great stages of the world. Choir- member Molly Wilson, on the other hand, can casually reflect, "I think singing at Carnegie Hall when I was 10 is my favorite memory."

Hear the GRCC in concert Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. at the Science Museum of Virginia.,/i>

Greater Richmond Chorus

The women of the Greater Richmond Chorus don't just sing. They dance. And apparently the combination is unbeatable. Based on the chorus' scores at the Sweet Adelines Convention, the all-female show choir not only won the regional title as best overall chorus, but it also ranked second in the world in its size category.

Because of the win, the Greater Richmond Chorus will compete in the Sweet Adelines International Convention in Las Vegas next October. In the meantime, the members will perform Broadway classics. "The best part is when everyone in the choir connects in a personal way," music director Roger Tarpy says.

Hear the Greater Richmond Chorus in concert Monday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church.

James River Singers

A program sung in English may seem fairly standard, but for the James River Singers, it's a rarity. "The variety of languages JRS performs is incredible," founding member Deb Klosterman says. While last year's concerts included pieces in German, French, Latin, Italian and Haitian Creole, the upcoming concert features songs of American composers.

Under the direction of Jeffrey Riehl, the group is widely admired for its creative programming. While members value the challenge of the music, for some, membership goes further. "I actually met my husband in JRS," Ginger Peterman says, "so you can't beat that!"

Hear the James River Singers in concert Sunday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Richmond Choral Society

Audiences of past Richmond Choral Society concerts have often been touched — and so have the members. "During the performance of 'Rutter's Requiem,' I was blinking back tears," says James River Singers member Deb Klosterman, also a member of the Richmond Choral Society. "As the audience exited the church, I could see that they also had been crying."

Perhaps the most established choir in Richmond, the Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary. "I enjoy working with this choir because they are a friendly group with great camaraderie," board member Sandra Finch says, "and director Thom Williams is a tremendous asset."

Hear the Richmond Choral Society in concert Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Richmond Men's Chorus

After the first rehearsal of the Richmond Men's Chorus, "I couldn't sleep," says founding director Tim Gillham. The chorus has an amazing intensity, energy and esprit de corps that keep him up at night, he says.

Founded in 2001, the choir performs four concerts a year. Whether the theme is Christmas, opera or Broadway, the choir always does one thing: inspire. For four-year member Ronald Patrick Brady, "The best part is being able to sing songs that provoke emotions, lift spirits, and make you laugh, cry, hope and dream."

Hear the Richmond Men's Chorus in concert Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.


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