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LINCROFT: A CHORUS OF APPROVAL

chorale_group_wo_conductor-3618467The Shrewsbury Chorale is looking to corral some new voices — and for the next two Tuesday evenings, the public is invited to join in the chorus of community.  

It’s one of those local treasures whose activity in the community extends back nearly 60 years, as the Shrewsbury Chorale prepares to embark upon its 59th season of choral classics and popular repertoire, presented in settings that have ranged from the modestly-scaled historic churches of Monmouth County to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and Carnegie Hall.

For the next couple of Tuesdays, the community arts organization gets back to its roots, extending an invitation to all interested singers to join in a pair of open rehearsals hosted at the Chorale’s regular Tuesday evening rehearsal venue, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft.

While the nonprofit mixed chorus has garnered acclaim (and been invited back for encore visits to Carnegie), the Chorale founded by Alden Hammond has been first and foremost a quality setting in which church choir members, music teachers, high school students, retirees and passionate singers from all walks of local life can explore their skills, challenge themselves, and make beautiful music with such orchestras as the Garden State Philharmonic.

Scheduled for 7:45 pm on January 5 and 12, the rehearsal sessions are a pressure-free environment in which there’s no charge to participate, with scores provided, and an atmosphere of “friendly music-making.”

At the same time, this particular set of open rehearsals marks a special occasion: an official welcome to Neil F. Brown, who will be serving as guest conductor for the 2016 season that begins in March. Brown (who returns after having served as Chorale accompanist five seasons ago) will be taking the podium following the recent departure of Anthony LaGruth, and will join the assembled members and accompanist Mark C. Cook in the continuation of a 2015-2016 season that kicked off with a December 20 “Songs of the Season” concert at Middletown’s Christ Episcopal Church.

The Chorale’s March 2016 “Remembrances” program (date and venue TBA) is scheduled to feature selections by Mozart, Faure and Haydn, while details of a season-closing June 2016 performance will be announced at a later date.

Chorale members have also been known to offer holiday carols at senior homes, homeless shelters and other facilities, in addition to local businesses (Sickles Market, The Grove, Dearborn Farms) and the outdoor Holiday Harmonies entertainments on the streets of downtown Red Bank. Through their participation in benefit concerts, Shrewsbury Chorale singers have helped raise funds for such nonprofits as HABcore, the American Cancer Society, and The Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Regular rehearsals of the Shrewsbury Chorale continue at the UUCMC Meetinghouse every Tuesday night through the season, with additional Open Rehearsal sessions offered at various times of the calendar year. To schedule an audition, call Joy More at (732) 216-3907 or email [email protected] for more information.

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