|By Courtney Llewellyn|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM When the Wilbraham Choral Society first started up in 1983, it rehearsed inside Wilbraham United Church on Main Street. Before long, the group grew to be too large for that space.
Today, more than 100 sopranos, altos, tenors and basses make up the Wilbraham Mixed Chorus and the Wilbraham Men's Glee Club. This year celebrates the 25th season of both groups as parts of the Wilbraham Choral Society.
Gabe Tedeschi originally got involved with the choral society as a member of the town's Arts Lottery Council, today known as the Cultural Council. One of his goals as a member of that council was to seek out different programs to present to the community for its entertainment.
"Part of that was sponsoring our own choir," Tedeschi said. "[The council] sponsored us up until about 10, 12 years ago." After that, the choral society started running its programs on its own, he explained.
"The arts are sorely overlooked in this day and age," Luanna Saunders, president of the Mixed Chorus, told Reminder Publications. "The programs are being cut out of schools. [The choral society provides] a nice sense of community. Everyone in the choir has a passion for music and takes a great pleasure in performing."
In its 25th year, however, the choral society has been having trouble finding the approximate $6,000 per year to pay for sheet music, a director for the two choral groups and an accompanist.
"It's very expensive to do this," Tedeschi said. "We have to charge each singer for his or her music. It would be nice if we could say to our singers all we need are your voices."
The Wilbraham Choral Society is currently seeking out sponsors for its 25th season, either residents or businesses who can donate $25 or $50 for an advertisement in the society's programs. Tedeschi said that that amount is a worthwhile investment because between 400 and 600 people normally come out to choir performances.
The Mixed Chorus will host their first performance on the first Sunday in December, with practices beginning on Sept. 8. The practices take place every Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
"We're always looking for new members," Saunders noted. "The more, the merrier. There are no tryouts you just need a love of music."
Saunders added that nothing special is planned for the chorus' 25th year yet.
"We just really enjoy doing this," Tedeschi said. "It extends community spirit to everyone. All the concerts are excellent. I hope it never ends."
If interested in joining or sponsoring the Wilbraham Choral Society, contact Saunders at 599-1824.