Spring 2023 Newsletter
Island Grove Chorus
By Meri Power-Ayer, IGC President
Wasn’t it great to be back in Springfield? It felt like everyone at our regional contest in May was saying that! For Island Grove Chorus this was our first competition since 2018, and it wasn’t just great to be back; for so many of us it was great to be there for the very first time. IGC had seven singers on stage (out of fifteen total) performing in their very first regional competition! Four of those singers had joined us within the last year. We had two new leads, two new tenors, two new basses, and one new baritone. Our director was new, too; Mary O’Loughlin has sung with IGC for years, but this was her first competition as a frontline director. And IGC kept up with our contest tradition of giving bridal veils to our contest newbies to wear around until they finally sang onstage.
Even our veteran singers found new challenges with this competition. IGC has performed in the Open Division for our last three competition appearances, but this year we competed in the International Category. Since we returned from our holiday break in January, we worked hard on our ballad and uptune, with coaching assistance from a group of wonderful friends and supporters of IGC: Gail Jencik, Chris Powers, Becky King, and even our director emeritus Pat Hoitt. They helped us tune up our sound, refine our presentation, and sing as a unit. We owe them all a huge debt of thanks for their time, patience, good humor, and hard work with us. Though we are small in numbers, it felt like every single member of IGC contributed in some way to our competition package. From our choreography team, who helped us pull together moves for our songs, to our makeup and costume teams, who helped us look our best, to the individual members who contributed their time, efforts, and insight (and even snacks), we could not have had such a fun and successful contest weekend without everyone’s talents, participation, and perseverance. Singing onstage at the beautiful Symphony Hall in front of the best audience we could ask for – Sweet Adelelines! – was just the sprinkles on the cupcake that was our fun, exciting, if a bit rainy, weekend in Springfield.
So now, what’s next? Well, Island Grove is getting back to our real love: performing for our local communities, friends, and families. We have two performances on the schedule for this summer in our hometown of Abington, Massachusetts, singing with the Abington Town Choir and the Abington Town Band at Founders’ Day in June, and outdoors at a July Sunday evening concert series at a local bandstand. IGC will also be performing at a family 90thbirthday party for one of our retired basses. This fall and winter we are hoping to perform multiple times at some of our favorite venues; and we already have our annual holiday performance booked for December.
We’re looking forward to some changes, as well. In July we’ll be moving to our summer rehearsal space at St. John’s Church in Holbrook, MA. We are shifting from weekly open rehearsals to seasonal open houses in an attempt to better connect with guest singers and recruit and retain more new members. And we are still looking for a permanent director. But despite our ongoing challenges, we are still grateful to be able to get together and sing once a week, getting ready to once again share our love of music with our audiences and each other.