Every Monday in August, an old-fashioned sing-along will attract scores of choral-music fans from throughout Connecticut and New York to a church in Fairfield.
But instead of singing traditional summertime fare, these folks will be raising their voices for the likes of Brahms, Mozart and Bernstein. Amazingly, experience is not required.
Beginning Monday, Aug. 6, the Fairfield County Chorale will host its ever-popular series of Summer Sings at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Fairfield's Southport section.
"The audience is the choir at these events," explains FCC Executive Director John Parkinson, adding that all that is needed from participants is a willingness to have fun.
"A varied selection of well-known choral music will be performed under the batons of accomplished conductors" -- a different conductor at each event.
This year's roster of guest conductors will feature: David Connell, who is artist-in-residence at Norfield Congregational Church, of Weston; Patrick Taylor, director of choirs at Greenwich High School; Paul Mueller, director of the Greenwich Choral Society; and Stephen Somary, founder, artistic director, and principal conductor of The Mendelssohn Project of Manhattan and Stuttgart, Germany.
"Summer Sings are open to accomplished singers, people who enjoy singing and anyone who might like to try," Parkinson said, noting that no one is kicked out of the building because they're off pitch (aka: singing off-key).
"The music is performed in a relaxed informal environment against the backdrop of a summer evening. Each session combines the pleasure of singing the music of the evening and learning a little about the piece and its composer, as well as meeting fellow music enthusiasts from all over the area.
"Absolutely no experience is necessary. Anyone wishing to listen is also welcome," Parkinson added.
Parkinson also is a member of the 100-plus nonprofit Fairfield-based chorale, which is preparing to celebrate its 50th season later this year. He said he very much looks forward to Summer Sings every year.
"Each evening, I am able to sample new music or perhaps revisit a piece that I have enjoyed before. Often a guest conductor will shed new light on the music -- all of this in a relaxed setting with friends without the pressure of knowing that a performance is at hand," he said.
Parkinson noted that Summer Sings began in the late 1980s, the brainchild of Eleanor "Bunny" Watts, a former FCC executive director, as a way to enliven the summer doldrums when most choral groups and church choirs are on their yearly break.
Parkinson said the annual series has continued to be popular with singers and audiences alike who come from throughout Connecticut and Westchester (N.Y.) County.
The FCC, under the baton of Argentine-born conductor David Rosenmeyer, of New York, rehearses weekly September through spring, and performs regularly at the Norwalk Concert Hall.
All sing-alongs begin at 8 p.m.; each runs up to 2½ hours, with one break.
A $10 donation includes music rental. Contact John Parkinson at 203-254-1333 or visit www.fairfieldcountychorale.org.
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