When Marci Winegrad moved to Cornelius from San Diego in 2013, she sought out the North Mecklenburg Community Chorus where her sister, Linda Muhlbach, is a soprano.
Accustomed to performing as a soloist with a small jazz band as well as a soprano with a large chorus that focused on classical music, Winegrad looked forward to singing pop music and show tunes featured in North Mecklenburg Chorus shows, and she planned to challenge herself by becoming an alto.
“I like being an alto as well as this type of music,” Winegrad said.
Not only did she bite on the alto apple, she also became a member of the board, performing communications and marketing tasks.
The North Mecklenburg Community Chorus is a 30- to 40-member group organized in 2010, that performs holiday shows in December as well as a spring show. Sandy Rogers is the music director.
Venues for the main chorus have been churches in Davidson, Huntersville and Cornelius. Costumes, choreography and comedy skits have been woven into spring shows.
Accompanists, ensemble groups and soloists are part of the fabric as well. Under the North Mecklenburg Chorus umbrella is also an eight-member ensemble called left@25. Most of their jazzy-style tunes are sung a cappella.
The talents of chorus members run the gamut from those with a professional performance background – like Samantha Robichaud, who sang with Disney in Tokyo – to those who have trouble reading the music.
Member Kay Roebuck’s career has included being the voice in many advertising jingles. Husband Roger leans on his broadcasting experience and bass singing voice when the pair perform skits and vocal duos.
When lyrics are written in Spanish, long-time member Nancy Lopez is called upon to perform the solo or help the group with pronunciation for when the chorus joins the song. Most members have sung in church choirs or other choruses; some sing with more than one group in the same season.
Rogers is a professional composer and arranger as well as a choral director. In addition to the North Mecklenburg Chorus, she directs Jubilation Gospel Choir at Community in Christ Lutheran Church in Cornelius; she is the music director. North Mecklenburg’s piano accompanist, Sherry Malia, has shared her talent with a number of choruses and other organizations, including Huntersville United Methodist Church.
Rogers expects, “there will be a lot of new and returning members.” To assist those who would like to improve their ability to read the notes and symbols on sheets of music, Rogers said she will periodically hold sight-reading and music theory workshops.
Performing valuable roles at rehearsals and in producing and promoting each show are several of the choral members. Tiffany Lee is the current president of the board of directors.
The date for the spring performances is April 13. Rogers said “It will be a history of Broadway, portraying its different eras and trends, such as films turned into Broadway musicals – ‘Lion King,’ for example.
“Audiences will be very entertained,” she said. She added, “The show will be dedicated to the memory of Richard Callan, a co-founder and singer member who recently passed away.”