Open auditions planned for new Peabody Community Chorus

Vocal group will practice, perform at Henderson-Hopkins school

The newly created Peabody Community Chorus is holding open auditions Saturday at the Peabody Preparatory's downtown campus from 10 a.m. to noon in Leakin Hall, room 214.

The chorus is a collaboration between the Peabody Preparatory, the School of Education, the Office of the President, and the staff and administration of Henderson-Hopkins school in East Baltimore.

"For the past couple of years as the Henderson-Hopkins School has gone from just an idea to an actual building and school for kids, we've been in contact with President [Ronald J.] Daniels' office and the School of Education about offering programs not just to kids within the school but also the community at large," says Gavin Farrell, interim associate dean of the Peabody Institute's Preparatory division, noting that a choir makes use of an instrument everybody has: voice. "We were consciously looking at programs that would attract adults. The effort here is to bring Peabody, the East Baltimore community, and the wider Johns Hopkins community together in one place where they can rehearse and make music together."

What and when the chorus performs will be determined once the group is put together, but Farrell says he thinks a holiday show and an end of year show are two concerts that should be doable.

An ability to read music is encouraged but not required as long as singers can learn by ear, he says. Auditioners are asked to bring in a song in any language; a piano accompanist is available if needed.

"We have ideas about what we want to do, but it's going to depend on who shows up," Farrell says. "It's going to evolve over time. If we can get a dozen people in the building to start with, we can make something work. The nice thing with choral repertoire is there's just a tremendous range of music that is available. Some of the most beautiful and difficult pieces ever written have been arranged for less experienced choirs."

Interested parties who can't make this weekend's audition date can come to the first rehearsal, Sept. 9, at Henderson-Hopkins, when late auditions will be held.

Farrell stresses that the chorus is open to anybody who wants to sing.

"It's a way to get people who may not necessarily have kids at the school to go the facility and see what an amazing place it is," Farrell says of the new building, which opened in January. The university envisions "Henderson-Hopkins as a centerpiece of the community, not just for school kids."

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