LIHU‘E — Kauai musicians Randy Leonard and Monica Chung have founded Sing Out Kauai, a new non-profit organization, helping keep choral music alive on Kauai.
“COVID-19 completely shut down choruses and performances as we knew them,” Leonard says. “In order to keep the music alive, we had to reinvent what choirs look like. Sing Out Kauai is a completely fresh approach.”
Instead of seasons, Sing Out Kauai operates in “projects,” involving four to 24 singers, all of whom are auditioned and selected specifically for their skills and vocal blend.
“We work in projects of one to five songs each, with smaller ensembles and shorter durations, raising the bar for excellence of performance,” Leonard says. “We’re planning one to two months per project, allowing more flexibility than traditional concert seasons, making it easier for people who have busy lives to participate.”
Leonard, Sing Out Kauai’s president, has more than 40 years professional conducting experience. Chung, a highly-respected concert pianist, is the group’s vice-president. Both led a popular island choir for nine years before the pandemic.
Formed in June 2020, Sing Out Kauai has already begun sharing high quality choral music with audiences electronically, beginning with “Wanting Memories,” an a cappella (no accompaniment from instruments) song, recorded following COVID-19 guidelines for safety. The professionally-recorded music video can be viewed on the group’s website singoutkauai.com.
“For our current project, three classical pieces, singers are beginning the process by learning music on their own,” Leonard says. “Soon we’ll meet in rehearsals with less frequency than choirs did pre-pandemic, physically distanced and following COVID-19 rules of gathering, including rehearsing outdoors, depending upon the number of singers participating.”
All interested experienced singers are invited to contact Leonard via the group’s website to schedule an audition for membership and upcoming projects. Future ensembles will engage multiple skill levels, ages, music genres and styles.
Proposed projects for the future, as well as membership details and opportunities for support can be found on the group’s website.
“Expect creative ways of sharing our music, through social media, music videos, recordings, smaller performance venues and a higher level of musical and choral excellence,” said Leonard. “As time goes on, we will also be reaching out for involvement of musicians and composers beyond Kauai.
“We look forward to bringing joy to the world through choral music,” said Leonard.
Sing Out Kauai has a nominal annual membership fee of $20 in order to be considered for upcoming projects, and per-project fees ranging from $25 to $45. For more information visit singoutkauai.com.
Source: The Garden Island