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Queens Chronicle

Angels we have heard in Richmond Hill

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Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:30 am

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean an end to the angelic sound of heavenly choruses for another year.

Inside the historic stone structure of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Richmond Hill, the members of the Sacred Music Chorale of Richmond Hill will be perfecting their pipes every Saturday morning in preparation for their Spring Concert, which will take place on April 14.

Rehearsals for the concert begin on Jan. 12 and the chorale group is looking for potential members to join them in song.

You don’t need a college degree in music to join the group, said Rev. Robert Sonnenberg, pastor of St. John’s and music director of the group.

“You don’t have to read music, it helps, but you don’t have to,” he said. “You will learn all about that in rehearsals.”

The chorus will be hosting an open chorus call on Jan. 12 for anyone interested in bringing his or her voice to the group, which currently has 30 singers from all ages and backgrounds. Many of the singers live in Queens, but some come from Nassau County and at least one member lives in Brooklyn.

Membership dues are $60 per semester and singers are entitled to five free tickets. All voice parts are welcome.

Despite singing classics that date back centuries like pieces from Mozart, Schubert and Haydn in a century-old church, the Sacred Music Chorus is a new creation. It was put together a little more than a decade ago, stemming from its predecessor, Queens Lutheran Coalition Choir, founded 28 years ago.

Sonnenberg noted that although the group practices and performs in the church and calls itself the “Sacred Music Chorale,” the performances are not limited to church music only. At their Christmas concert on Dec. 9, the group performed Haydn’s Mass in G as well as some secular numbers from the holiday canon.

“It’s not a church choir,” Sonnenberg said. “Even though we perform [at St. John’s], we’re not affiliated with it.”

The pastor noted that much of the classical genre of music is tied to Christianity because the church was the subject of pieces by many of the composers in that era. Christianity was the focus of most forms of art in the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment eras in Europe.

The chorus is supported by The Josephine Foundation, a Long Island-based nonprofit that funds sports, arts and music programs.

The Spring Concert will be held on Sunday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church. The program will feature professional soloists and a chamber orchestra performing Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Schubert’s Mass in A flat and pieces from Mozart. Admission is $15, $12 for students/seniors and $12 for tickets sold pre-concert.

For more information, visit richmondhillny.com/Arts/SMC.html or call (718)-849-1437.

Sacred Music Chorale of Richmond Hill Spring Concert tryouts

When: Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m.

Where: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 86-20 114 St., Richmond Hill

Tickets: Semester dues $60


(718) 849-1437

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