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Shared voices

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Singing praises for a community choir

By Kate Darnell

Karen Bear began singing when she was 12 years old.

“I fell in love with Barbra Streisand...” Bear said. “I would sing for hours to her records.”

Bear’s love for music and singing led to a degree in voice performance and music education and 20 years as a choral director.

And Bear will soon share her vocal training and choral directing experience with the community as the director of The Licking Valley Singers.

“I just thought it would be fun to gather people together to have a community choir...” Bear said. “It’s going to be fun and we’re going to be doing a wide range of styles...”

Sponsored by Maysville Community and Technical College/Licking Valley Campus and the Cynthiana Arts Council, Bear said anyone, ages 14 and up, is invited to participate.

“We want to involve people who love to sing,” Bear said. “While having choir experience is a plus, it’s not required... It’s not exclusive...”

Bear said rehearsals will begin on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the college.

Weekly rehearsals throughout September and October will lead to The Licking Valley Singers’ performance during the Autumn Afternoon event on Sunday, Nov. 1, with future performances and rehearsals continuing based on participant interest.

“I would like to think that this is the beginning of something that will become a staple in the community,” Bear said.

MCTC/LVC Continuing Education Coordinator Karey Smith said a $1,000 instructional grant will cover the start-up costs of the choir, including piano tuning, choral folders and sheet music.

“This grant-funded project aligns with the college’s strategic plan to offer cultural experience to our community, embrace diversity and explore new programs,” Smith said. “This is one of the wonderful perks for being a ‘college’ town. Not only do we award degrees and diplomas, but our presence in the community offers other opportunities such as the community choir. We’re so pleased to partner with the Cynthiana Arts Council once again to offer another cultural experience to the community.”

The Licking Valley Singers will be accompanied by Dr. Beth Laytart.

Those wishing to participate in The Licking Valley Singers must pre-register by Aug. 27 by calling the college at 234-8626, ext. 66429.