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Member Spotlight: Fun music keeps men singing… and crowds wanting more!

September 23, 2010

By Steve Freeman
A unique musical treat. … That is how some would describe the Chorus of the Old Dominion. Without needing instrumentation, sound systems, or even a venue, the Chorus can break into a song that brings ear-pleasing harmonies and fun music anywhere they go.

Chorus of the Old Dominion repertoire is one reason they are a hit with audiences. They specialize in the doo-wop, barbershop, and pop standards that listeners can’t help but tap a foot to. “Under the Boardwalk,” “Silhouettes,” and even Beach Boys hits.

A performance by the Chorus features something for everyone, however. Other songs they offer the crowds include John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “O Shenandoah,” the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” “Coney Island Baby,” Harry Conack Jr.’s “Recipe for Love,” and many others, including holiday hits and love songs.

The Chorus is an all-male group in its 8th year that brings 4-part a cappella harmony to community events, festivals and private functions like birthday and retirement parties. The chorus is perhaps best known for its singing telegrams, delivered each Valentine’s Day to unsuspecting “sweethearts.”

New happenings this year for these men of song include hosting a choral workshop for area high school students, with leadership from the nation’s Barbershop Harmony Society, and more frequent appearances at Leesburg First Friday events. The chorus frequently takes the stage for annual events such as Loudoun Earth Day, Martin Luther King Day, and sings for wounded veterans of the Izaak Walton League.

Harmonize with the Guys

What kind of a man does it take to sing in an all-male chorus? If you’re thinking about it, the Chorus is looking for you. “The group’s busy times of the year are nearing and now is the time to join in by starting with a “no pressure and no obligation” sing-along night,” said Timothy Wyant of western Loudoun, the chorus’s president.

Do you sing in the shower? Then you might qualify. Do you find yourself humming along to songs you hear? Do you love music and have you ever sung in a choir before?

Men of any age who enjoy music, like the feeling of pleasing a listening audience and can sing on pitch and memorize music are good candidates for the Chorus. The group meets weekly on Thursday evenings for rehearsal and provides listening tracks to continue learning the music throughout the week.

There’s more to the Chorus than the technical requirements, however. It’s members like Mike Jacks of Ashburn simply enjoys having a wholesome pastime that provides an diversion the work-a-day world.

Dale Bird of Herndon, president-elect for 2011, is in the Chorus because of the fun songs they sing and the extra special feeling of performing songs in close harmony and unadorned by musical instruments or sounds in a bar.

“I love watching the faces of the audience,” said Bird. “When they smile I know we’ve done our job and entertained them.”

Many of its singers were in choirs at young ages, loved it then, and find that returning to vocal music interests today is a fun way to participate in community life. Others have always sung in church choirs, but wanted to polish their vocal skills or wanted to venture into singing pop songs for a change.

When they come together, they take on the challenge to bring good, fun music to every audience for which they perform.

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For more information about the Chorus of the Old Dominion, or to get in on an upcoming rehearsal, visit http://www.odchorus.org or contact 703-975-5184 or info@odchorus.org. The Chorus can also be found on Facebook and MeetUp.com.

Upcoming public performances:

Saturday, Nov. 13 Sterling Public Library, 2 p.m., Sterling, Va. Free

Saturday, Dec. 11 Hillsboro Homes Tour, 1-6 p.m., Hillsboro, Va.

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