September 23, 2014

Finding Our Voice

Beautiful voices raised in harmonious song; original dances that trace a moving journey; poetry that inspires; visual art pieces ripe with emotion—all presented by the community, for the community and to raise awareness of a worthy cause. This is the vision of The Choir Project’s Finding a Voice concert.

And what a vision it is! This first “Concert for a Cause” presented by the nonprofit organization aims to aid the Shelter for Abused Women & Children in Collier County by bringing together various arts and voices from the community to trace a woman’s journey from abuse to healing and wholeness.

The idea is the brainchild of Marian Dolan, founder and artistic director of The Choir Project. The recipient of Yale University’s first choral conducting doctorate awarded to a woman, Dolan has taught and conducted music around the world. After moving to Naples in 2004, she began The Choir Project as a means to help local singers “find their voices.”

To date, that has meant forming a local women’s choral group, Lumina, and bringing in national and international choruses to present concerts and workshops (the latter in the schools and for the public). Two years ago, she decided to expand her project to produce a concert extraordinaire that takes place this month. “This is not the usual type of choral concert,” Dolan explains. “It’s not classical ‘high art’ music. Instead, it is a journey—of finding a voice.”

The program begins with inspiring words from Eleanor Roosevelt, then uses music, dance and art to illustrate the stages of lament, hope, healing and restoration. The music ranges from folk and African-American spirituals to works by living composers—some specifically written about domestic violence. Participants include two dozen local singers, choirs and singers from five Collier County middle and high schools, area actors, dancers and choreographers. The visual works are drawn from the Shelter’s healing arts program.

The goal is to create a concert that raises awareness about an important issue and also inspires the audience to find its voice.

I, for one, am inspired by this “different” idea. I plan to be there. Hope you will, too.

The Choir Project’s Finding a Voice concert is presented at 4 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Moorings Presbyterian Church, Naples. To learn more about The Choir Project or the concert, visit www.thechoirproject.org or call (239) 248-7511.  

Hot Tickets

The documentary Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades premieres Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. Hosted by the Naples Art Association/The von Liebig Art Center. (239) 262-6517, www.naplesart.org.

The Naples Players presents Almost, Maine, Jan. 13-Feb. 6 at the Sugden Community Theatre. (239) 263-7990, www.naplesplayers.org.

Frank Ferrante stars in An Evening with Groucho, Jan. 22-23 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts. (800) 597-1900, www.thephil.org.

The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall presents Spring Awakening, Jan. 26-31. (239) 481-4849, www.bbmannpah.com.

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