Reston: Surrounded by Sound
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Reston: Surrounded by Sound

The Reston Chorale to hold auditions on Aug. 11 and 24.

The Reston Chorale in front of the pipe organ at St. Luke Catholic Church.

The Reston Chorale in front of the pipe organ at St. Luke Catholic Church. Photo Contributed

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Artistic Director David Lang leads the Reston Chorale. “We sing widely varied repertoire, from classical musical to classic rock,” said Susan Meeks-Versteeg.

Sing in the Shows

To set up an audition, send an email to RCAuditions@Resto... or call 703-834-0079, #4 to set up an audition time.

See the Shows

Wade in the Water: Songs of Freedom

with Mosaic Harmony and the

Gospel Choir of Shiloh Baptist Church

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015

4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, Virginia

Carol Sing-Along

Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

6 p.m., Free

Reston Town Center

The Wonder of the Season: Around the World

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015

4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, Virginia

Reston Sings: Handel's Messiah!

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015

7:30 p.m.

St. John Neumann Catholic Church

11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, Virginia

Choral Splendor II

Sunday, March 13, 2016

4 p.m.

Saint Luke Catholic Church

7001 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Virginia

Reston Founder's Day

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Noon, Free

Lake Anne Plaza, Reston, Virginia

At the Hop: Music of the Fabulous '50s

Saturday, May 7, 2016

4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods

2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, Virginia

Star-Spangled Sing-Along

Saturday, May 28, 2016

2 p.m., Free

Reston Town Center

Ruth Overton has performed with the Reston Chorale since 1976. She’s almost never missed Tuesday night rehearsals, all 2,000 of them.

“I had six children that had to hear, ‘Mommy will be gone on Tuesday nights.’ That’s me time,” said Overton, of Reston.

“It can be absolutely magnificent,” she said, of the choir’s sound. “It’s like an out-of-body experience. You are swept in something like Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, oh, that’s the closest you get to heaven without having to die first.”

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Members of The Reston Chorale perform during last year’s season. The group has scheduled auditions for interested singers.

The Reston Chorale scheduled auditions for the evenings of Tuesday, Aug. 11 and Monday, Aug. 24 in preparation for the upcoming 2015-2016 season.

“Everyone carries that instrument inside their body. It’s not like a trombone or harp, every voice has a personality and when it comes together it’s magical,” said David Lang, artistic director.

Robert E. Simon was one of the group’s original members and founders of the Reston Chorale which began in 1967 to “promote community interest and participation in, and enjoyment of, choral music,” according to its website.

“Singing with other people is a wonderful, wonderful experience,” said Overton who referred to scientific studies of the benefits of singing. “People who sing together are generally happy people.”

“When you are singing in it, you are immersed in it, you get to hear all the voices,” said Susan Meeks-Versteeg, once a performer, now the managing director. “Being at the back of the house, I get the best seat. They always amaze me with the power and the unity of their voice.”

DON’T WORRY about the audition, just schedule it, enjoy it, each said.

“It’s not that kind of audition. It’s not a scary audition,” said Overton, president of the chorale.

“The audition is a friendly process,” said Meeks-Versteeg. “It’s designed to assess the singer’s range and voice type as well as their understanding of music and singing.”

Just you and me, said Lang.

“Although not necessarily for the very beginner,” he said, he doesn’t need potential performers to be conservatory virtuosos.

“We have a good time, we work hard, we learn a lot and the end product is thrilling,” said Overton.

Lang offers the opportunity to come to a few rehearsals to determine whether to try-out. He also offers opportunities for coaching to all members before rehearsals.

“It’s a team working together,” said Lang. “I give directions on how to use your voice properly, how to use your vowels, it’s my job to show them how to make it easier.”

The chorale especially needs baritones and tenors.

“Little boys sing as much as girls but then you get to first grade and they just don’t sing anymore. It’s really too bad,” said Overton. “We have a young bass, and it’s just wonderful to hear him.”

OF THE 91 MEMBERS last season, 35 lived in Reston; 38 lived in the surrounding areas of Herndon, Vienna, Oakton, Fairfax, Centreville, Oak Hill and Sterling; and 18 lived in outliers, including Ashburn, Leesburg, Annandale and Woodbridge.

Members range in age from teens to seniors, and high school and college students could receive scholarships to participate.

“It’s a community, a community choir in the best sense. It is a group that comes together to create a beautiful work, to come together to produce a quality sound, and it is also a group that comes together in a crisis,” she said.

The Chorale rehearses on Tuesday nights from 7:30 - 10 at the Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road.

And there are health benefits.

“Plenty of studies show that chorus is a physical workout and a mental workout. It’s stimulates the brain. You have to be alert,” said Lang, the director for the last five years.

“He pays attention to those details that are absolutely critical to a quality performance. I’ve noticed how they’ve grown musically,” said Meeks-Versteeg.

THIS SEASON, the Reston Chorale will perform a range of music from classical to gospel to holiday carols to the annual Pops Concert featuring music from the 1950s.

“We always like to team up with other groups. It gives us experiences we wouldn’t ordinarily have,” said Lang.

The chorale will team up with the Reston based “Mosaic Harmony” and the Gospel Choir of Shiloh Baptist Church for its first concert “Wade in the Water: Songs of Freedom” in October.

A Holiday concert, “The Wonder of the Season: Around the World” features carols from around the world, including a carol they will learn in Norwegian.

The day after Thanksgiving is the annual carol sing-along for the community to participate in with the lighting of the tree at the Reston Town Center.

And the group plans to continue what will be an annual Patriotic concert “Star-Spangled Sing-Along” around Memorial Day and they will collect donated items to send to members of the military. Lang said veterans and members of the military families will be invited to their concerts for free this season.

And in the spring, the group will return to sing with the famous organ at McLean’s St. Luke Catholic Church for a program of French music, including Charles-Marie Widor's grand Messe (Op. 36) for two choirs and two organs.

“The acoustics there are perfect for choir,” said Lang, an organist.

“I can tell you, it was absolutely incredible,” said Meeks-Versteeg of last year’s concert at St. Luke. “We had the choir in the back and the pipe organ in the front, you were literally surrounded by sound. The response was amazing.”