New Vail Valley chorus Distant Voices brings together singers in Nottingham Park
“Would you like me to sing for you?” Gena Bedrosian asked on a Tuesday evening by Nottingham Park stage. She cleared her throat, took a swig of her Diet Coke, stood up from the ledge we were sitting on and shared a brief piece. I clapped.
She showed me some of the other pieces of music in a manila file folder, especially “Oh, Shenandoah,” a choral classic. I remembered singing that tune in my middle school chorus. It’s a piece that’s uplifting and connected to nature, Bedrosian said, and that’s why she thinks it’s a perfect piece for the new choir group she started in late July.
Vail Valley’s newest chorus, Distant Voices, rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. in Nottingham Park at the pavilion near the playground. All proficient singers aged 14 and up are welcome to attend rehearsals, which will be conducted in a safe, social distanced manner. She anticipates the choral season will run from May to October each year.
Bedrosian got the idea to start a choral group after moving to the Vail Valley from Naples, Florida. A retired emergency room doctor and physician, she’s also a life-long pianist and vocalist. As an adult, she spent summers south of Buffalo, NY in Chautauqua, home to the famous Chautauqua Institution. Over the course of a nine-week summer season, guests enjoy the arts, recreation, education and religion as a series of lectures and performances that have earned the 140-year-old nonprofit national recognition.
Bedrosian’s lifelong dedication to learning — she still does video calls with her piano teacher back in Naples — extends to Distant Voices. She’ll be teaching participants techniques like ear training, breathing, pitch and tone.
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But more importantly, Distant Voices is a way for Bedrosian to share her love of music and music instruction with her new community. She and her husband came to the Vail Valley to be closer to their grandkids, and she’s hoping Distant Voices can bring together other music lovers and help her meet people who are as passionate as she is.
“It is my belief that almost anybody can be trained to use their voice,” she said. “I’m not expecting that everybody will know how to sing everything that I give them, but that they’re willing to make a pleasant tone and sing together.”
She’s also offering private instruction in her Avon home to those who’d like additional help. Thus far, there are 17 singers and Bedrosian is still looking for more.
How to join
Singers who would like to join the group can access information on the Distant Voices Facebook page, @distantvoiceschorus. They should be able to read music and acquire the following rehearsal and performance items:
- A mask
- Folding chair with a flat seat, which will help maintain good singing posture
- A water bottle
- Their copy of music if group purchase from a publisher
- A pitch pipe or piano app on phone, for finding pitch and tone
- A hard-sided black 3 ring binder or choral folder to store music
- A pencil, eraser and highlighter
- A logo polo shirt before first performance, which should cost about $35.00
- Dark pants or knee-length skirt, dark shoes for performances
- Cough drops or gum if desired
Rehearsal dates through the end of August are from 6 to 8 p.m. in Nottingham Park on the following dates.
- Tuesdays: Aug. 11, 18 and 25
- Thursdays: Aug. 13 and 20