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January 26, 2011

Choral legend to lead community sing

Lincoln Journal Star (NE):

Choral legend Alice Parker agreed the only time people seem to sing together is during the holidays. "Even at sporting events, it's one person singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner,'" she said in a phone interview from her Massachusetts home. "Then it's usually one voice that isn't suited to it."

That's why, for the past 30 years, she's traveled the world encouraging people to sing together. She will lead a community sing Friday at First-Plymouth Congregational Church as part of the Abendmusik: Lincoln season. "The comment I hear the most is how extraordinarily fun it was," she said about past events.

The community sing will include the presentation of Parker's choral arrangements by the Abendmusik Chorus, which will feature many opportunities for the audience to join in the singing. The concert will include secular and sacred music as well as spirituals and folk tunes.

Parker, 85, blamed television for the demise of group singing. Before the advent of TV, it was common for families to gather and sing the songs they liked, she said. "It was a huge loss for our children and for our sense of community," she said.

Parker, who founded her nonprofit group, Melodious Accord Inc., in 1985, decided to do something about it. She experimented first with well-trained musicians, singing a phrase to them and having them repeat it back to her.

"They were amazed with not reading it out of a book," she said. "They were hearing and learning it by ear. It worked so well, I knew I could do this with congregations, in schools, with little children or older folks. This takes us back to the beginning of music-making."

85 and still singing. She is such a treasure.

Posted by acapnews at January 26, 2011 9:56 PM


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