Days end sooner. Nights grow longer. The air is crisper and songs sung by Sister’s Voices in their annual Winter Concert weave through the bare trees of Chatham County.
Sisters’ Voices is a choral community of girls in two ensembles — nine girls from 2nd and 3rd grades, and 14 girls from 4th through 8th grades. Their Winter Concert is presented to share the beautiful voices of these remarkable young musicians as well as to highlight music from other cultures.
We asked Leandra Merea Strope, Artistic Director of Sister’s Voices, to tell us more about the group and this event.
What kind of music does the Sisters’ Voices feature?
Sisters’ Voices ensembles perform choral music in world, folk, and classical traditions. Some of the music is unaccompanied, other selections are accompanied by Daniel Cherrix on piano.
How is Sisters’ Voices unique?
Sisters’ Voices provides a high level of musical training and develops performance skills. The experience of singing with others creates a community among the girls that is rich and supportive. Musical selections are influenced, in part, by the cultural backgrounds and interests of the singers who represent a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Members of Sisters’ Voices sing in many languages and learn about the culture, history, and aesthetics associated with the music they perform. These experiences open minds, bring new understanding, and broaden ideas of beauty and creative ways of communication. Singers are taught to sing in bel canto style (Italian for beautiful singing), a style that builds flexibility and a broad vocal range and that can influence and support any other style of singing.
Is the Winter Concert appropriate for children?
Yes, it’s a great time for children to hear peers sing and to experience music of other cultures. Children are very welcome!
How has Sisters’ Voices grown and changed over the years?
Sisters’ Voices began in 2008 with one Pittsboro ensemble of about fifteen 4th through 8th grade singers. Now there is a second Pittsboro ensemble of 2nd and 3rd graders. The Pittsboro ensembles enjoy performing at many different Chatham County community events throughout the year. As the singers’ abilities have grown, the girls have learned more music and taken on more difficult and interesting repertoire.
What will readers find surprising about the Winter Concert?
The music is from many different cultures and time periods. The girls who perform this music not only learn how to sing the songs but also learn the history of the music and the stories behind the songs. One audience member recently remarked, “The girls’ singing was lovely and I enjoyed the variety of songs a lot but I particularly appreciated Ms. Strope’s comments between selections that helped me and the other audience members understand where the songs came from. Her remarks provided insights that brought a context to the songs and enriched the entire experience.”
What is a favorite story from the Winter Concert or Sisters’ Voices?
Artistic Director Leandra Strope recalls, “One of the girls in the ensemble told me that, although she knew she was supposed to be watching the conductor when she was singing, she was too distracted by how much the woman in the front row was enjoying herself. This singer said she just wanted to go dance with the woman!”
This winter there is much to celebrate and be thankful for. This community of girls who learn to find their voices through singing while also developing confidence and learning how to share the beauty of song through performing is a powerful addition to Chatham’s rich creative culture. Save the date to see, hear, and experience Sisters’ Voices.
• Event Name: Winter Concert
• Event Host: Sisters’ Voices/Pittsboro led by Leandra Merea Strope, Artistic Director
• Day & Time: Friday, December 11, 7pm
• Location: Pittsboro Community House, 65 Thompson Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312
• Cost of Admission: Free and open to the public. Donations accepted
• Parking: Free in lots nearby and on the street
• Accessibility: No. There are 3 stairs
• For more info: www.sistersvoices.org