Have you ever been part of a project that has different parts working together? Like building something, gardening with others, planning an event? It can be challenging – especially when you think you don’t know what you need to do. Will you be given the right tools? The right instructions? Will the product or event be what we want? With a bit of coordination and commitment, something both memorable and magical can happen!
If you are a singer, you may have had the experience of singing with others. The blending of voices together has a magic of its own. Joan Broadfield of Chester Friends Meeting shares her experience and a little bit of history about Pendle Hill Chorus.
At Pendle Hill, located in Wallingford PA, a community chorus has been gathering since the early 1990s. On a Wednesday evening in late September, you will find a group of people gathering at Pendle Hill preparing for their annual December concert. This upcoming March, the Pendle Hill Chorus will again gather to begin to prepare for a May concert. Some of the chorus members have been participating since the early 90s. While some have left, new members are always joining; and after 2 years of pandemic absence, including experimental Zoom work, the chorus is happy to gather together again in person.
The chorus at Pendle Hill was an idea that developed piece by piece. Through the decades, Pendle Hill’s programs have included a full course of study in semesters – now shifted to a term in the spring – but it also has included weeklong and weekend workshops of various lengths. Along the way singing happened, and when two major buildings on the Pendle Hill campus received major facelifts, the re-openings included choral presentations.
We come together because when we sing together, we are energized in many ways.
In the early 90s, following the re-opening of Firbank, singers, along with director Jackie Coren, reunited with a desire to continue. Today, the group is a community chorus, with some hailing from the local area, Pendle Hill’s campus, and some from as far as West Chester and Philadelphia.
Music is not something that is just for some. It serves as a meaningful way to be together and taps into emotions while expressing values and sound – from troubling to ethereal. But more importantly, it is piecing together the parts of music that blend into a whole, then given in concert to the wider community. Whether well-seasoned or just learning, members of the chorus commit the time to successfully learn vocal parts.
Director Jackie Coren fits pieces around a seasonal theme, and chorus members review parts, putting together the pieces of each song. By the concert dates (in December and again in May), the chorus has a fully developed sound and program to share. Because the community aspect of the chorus is so important, many concerts include audience sing-alongs. Between the chorus’ bi-annual concerts, Pendle Hill chorus has also often been part of a Thanksgiving celebration held locally among worshipping congregations of an interfaith group, or a spring event.
While the group does welcome invitations to sing at an event, it is often hard to facilitate due to schedule conflicts and the robust daily lives of members; even still, they encourage and consider requests! The upcoming holiday concert takes place Wednesday, December 13, 2023, on the beautiful campus of Pendle Hill. All are welcome!
If you love to sing and share music with others, consider joining the Pendle Hill Chorus. It’s not too late! Learn how