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Danville area will soon experience a new Resonance

By DAVID UNDERWOOD-SWEET

Contributing writer

If you have passed by the Community Arts Center on a Monday evening, you might have heard bass and tenor harmonies coming from the Grand Hall. This would be the area’s newest singing group, Resonance, drawing members from the Danville-Boyle County area, and from as far away as Somerset, Richmond and Stamping Ground.

Under the direction of Dr. Barbara Hall, professor emerita of Centre College, Resonance joins her other singing groups, Sounding Joy, a women’s chorus of 10 years and the Summer Singers, a group she has conducted for over 30 years.

Toward the end of this year’s rehearsals of the Summer Singers, several men inquired about the possibility of a men’s singing group. Dr. Hall put out the word through the Community Arts Center and her various groups and indicated that she would be willing to direct if she had enough men participate. To the surprise and delight of all, about 18 showed up for the first rehearsal, and the group soon swelled to the current 22 members.

And what a group it is! “I’m constantly amazed by the talents and artistry of this company of gentlemen,” says one member. After sight-reading a hymn at an early rehearsal, Dr. Hall exclaimed, “Any church in this area would just die to have you sing for them!” Their repertoire spans the time from classical to current, including hymns, spirituals, sea shanties and traditional American songs, with a few Christmas songs for the season.

Ranging in age from the 30s to the 80s, the group consists of men from all walks of life, including those in business (sales, management, customer reps), education (math, music, religion and special education), therapy, and archeology. Many of the members come from area church choirs and from the Summer Singers group. They are all united by their love of music and singing.

“Resonance is a great opportunity for skilled vocalists to be part of a group. Many of us come from musical backgrounds in our youth,” says Kelly Wasson. “This is more than just singing – it requires study, concentration, listening and adapting vocally to fit the group needs, ability to follow leadership, being an individual inside a larger entity working toward a common cause, and networking with other men in the community.”

Research on singing in groups has shown that there are a number of benefits gained by participants.

“Singing is good for your mental health,” comments Phillip Jones, a retired mental health therapist. “It improves your outlook on life and releases endorphins; it’s better than Prozac. There is a great feeling of camaraderie in singing with other men.”

 Richard Stalling, another member, says, “Music is one of the ways I express myself to the world…and it’s a lot of fun!”

Two other “ingredients” make the group possible. The support of the Community Arts Center and staff has been wonderful, according to Hall. They have provided the space for Resonance to rehearse and handle the necessary financial duties for the chorus.

The leadership of Dr. Hall is the final and most important ingredient.

“The notes must be right, the rhythms must be right, the words pronounced clearly and we must blend and sing together,” she says. “And then we can have fun with it!”

This is echoed by many of the men in the group.

“Dr. Hall is such a gifted and talented teacher/director,” says Ervin Farmer, bass singer. “She has the unique ability to make the practices fun, while bringing out the best in us.” A.J. Strauch adds, “It’s a rewarding process beginning with the drilling of notes and eventually ending with an artistic expression. It has been fun and a great addition to my weekly life.”

David Underwood-Sweet is a member of Resonance and has been a performing Summer Singers choir member.

IF YOU GO

Resonance will perform two upcoming concerts. They are sharing a billing with the women’s chorus Sounding Joy at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Stuart Underwood Auditorium at Lincoln County High School. Resonance will also hold a concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 117 Main St. Danville.