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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Allentown Symphony Chorus to debut with Mozart's CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Allentown Symphony Chorus to debut with Mozart's "Requiem," 8 p.m. March 8; 3 p.m. March 9, 2014, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Classical Views: Do you love to sing?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by DIANE WITTRY Special to The Press in Focus

Allentown Symphony Chorus holding auditions

I remember growing up in Pasadena, Calif., with the family gathered around the player piano in the living room having a great time singing together. Singing has always been a part of my life and it is within this type of personal engagement with music that I feel most fulfilled.

Throughout all age ranges, singing has been a positive outlet for emotions and a way to express joy. Music has that wonderful ability to convey different types of emotions. Singing is a great way to share in the music-making.

Many of us sang in church choirs, or sang with a chorus in school. I know that I did. I was lucky because the church I grew up in had children's choirs starting in kindergarten. Through participating in the various choirs over the years, I sang every Sunday as I was growing up.

In high school, I joined the school show choir and had a great time singing and dancing in our music reviews. I still remember the words and melodies of all of those Broadway shows. I owe a debt of gratitude to the inspiring chorus directors I have worked with over the years. They certainly changed my life in such amazing ways.

In today's busy world, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to make a long-term commitment to singing in a choir, although the Lehigh Valley has many very fine choruses that one can join. Because of this, we decided to form the new Allentown Symphony Chorus in a way that was more conducive to people's busy schedules.

Instead of meeting every week over the course of an entire year, the Allentown Symphony Chorus will meet for just seven weeks before the scheduled performance. Rehearsals will mostly be on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings. Because of the shortened rehearsal schedule, chorus participants will be required to learn all of the notes at home before the rehearsals start so that we will be concentrating on musical issues from the very first rehearsal.

Each year, the Allentown Symphony Chorus will be featured in a major work with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. We have planned a few years out with some exciting pieces: Mozart's "Requiem," Beethoven's 9th Symphony, "Carmina Buranna" and other choral masterpieces.

Chorus Master is Eduardo Azzati, a faculty member at Moravian College, Bethlehem, and an established choral director and vocal soloist in the Lehigh Valley. I know that you will enjoy working with him to prepare for performances with the Allentown Symphony.

Our premiere performance of the Symphony Chorus is Mozart's "Requiem," 8 p.m. March 8 and 3 p.m. March 9, 2014. This is one of my favorite pieces and one that is incredibly rewarding to sing and perform. Rehearsals for the concerts start in late January.

Imagine singing in the new Allentown Symphony Chorus at Miller Symphony Hall with the excellent musicians of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. I hope that you will audition for your place in this chorus and join us for these exceptional performances.

Auditions for the Mozart "Requiem" performance of the Allentown Symphony Chorus are at 5 p.m. Nov. 21 and 6 p.m. Jan. 13, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.

Applicants need to prepare a short solo piece of their choice and the "Kyrie" movement of the Mozart "Requiem." They may also be asked to sight-read a short Bach "Chorale." Auditions are expected to take 10 minutes. An accompanist will be provided.

Information about the auditions and application forms are available at the Allentown Symphony website: Allentownsymphony. org/chorus

For questions and to schedule an audition by phone, call Donna Fritchey, 610-436-7961, ext. 205.

Diane Wittry is Music Director-Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director (USA), International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia; and author, "Beyond the Baton" (Oxford University Press).

Concert tickets: Miller Symphony Hall Box Office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown,, 610-432-6715