A grand night singing with the Philly chorale

The vice pres­id­ent of the Great­er Phil­adelphia Chor­ale, Cliff Barcliff, sings to June is Bust­ing out All Over, from the mu­sic­al the Ca­rou­sel, at the chor­ale’s weekly prac­tice, Tues­day, Au­gust 21, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)


It really was a grand night for singing, and al­most every­body got to the church on time when the Great­er Phil­adelphia Chor­ale hos­ted an ice cream so­cial and sing-along at St. Jerome’s on Col­fax Street.

The chor­ale’s mem­bers, who will cel­eb­rate their 10th year to­geth­er in Decem­ber, drew more than 40 people to the event on Aug. 21. They  belted out such fa­vor­ites as June is Bustin’ Out All Over (from Ca­rou­sel), Castle on a Cloud (from Les Miser­ables), Su­per­cal­i­fra­gil­istic­ex­pi­al­ido­cious (from Mary Pop­pins), Get Me to the Church on Time (from My Fair Lady) and State Fair’s It’s a Grand Night for Singing.

Friends Lor­raine Grib­ben and Ar­lene Pinto from Tor­res­dale, choir mem­bers at St. Kath­er­ine of Si­ena R.C. Church, ad­ded their ex­per­i­enced vo­cals to the even­ing and en­joyed the sing-along in a St. Jerome’s school room.

There was, however, an agenda bey­ond the good time, said the chor­ale’s vice pres­id­ent, Cliff Barcliff. The sing­ers are look­ing for more voices to join their num­bers.

They es­pe­cially need male voices, Barcliff said, quickly adding that every­one is wel­come.

Any re­quire­ments?

As­pir­ing chor­ale mem­bers don’t need to have had any form­al train­ing or even know how to read mu­sic, he said.

“You need an ear for melod­ies and har­mon­ies,” he said, “and you have to love to sing.”

And sing just about any­thing.

“We’re try­ing to bring in as big an audi­ence as we can by vary­ing our mu­sic,” Barcliff said.

The chor­ale’s rep­er­toire in­cludes clas­sic­al and re­li­gious mu­sic, Christ­mas car­ols, jazz, tunes from Broad­way and Hol­ly­wood, and pop­u­lar mu­sic old and new, said Barcliff and Bar­bara Kaufold, the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s sec­ret­ary.

“The most dif­fi­cult pieces to per­form,” Barcliff said as he and Kaufold scooped ice cream for their guests last week, “are the ones that people know.”

You have to get those songs right on the money be­cause your audi­ence knows if you made a mis­take, he said.

The most fun? That was ob­vi­ous at the ice cream so­cial.

Show tunes dom­in­ated along with some Dis­ney clas­sics like Some Day My Prince Will Come from Snow White and the Sev­en Dwarfs.

Get Me to the Church on Time. Was the night’s big win­ner.  Some of the at­tendees soun­ded a little tim­id as the even­ing began — after all, they had nev­er sung to­geth­er be­fore. But when ac­com­pan­ist Dav­id Hughes began play­ing the My Fair Lady fa­vor­ite, par­ti­cip­a­tion — and volume — in­creased dra­mat­ic­ally.

The chor­ale was foun­ded in 2002 as a com­munity choir. Its mem­bers, who cur­rently num­ber 24, per­form in Phil­adelphia and its sub­urbs. Their 10th an­niversary con­cert will be presen­ted at St. Jerome’s on Dec. 15.

That date is close to Christ­mas, so the pro­gram will have plenty of car­ols and oth­er hol­i­day mu­sic, Barcliff and Kaufold said.

The chor­ale has per­formed at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Na­tion­al Con­sti­tu­tion Cen­ter and the USS New Jer­sey.

Chor­ale re­hears­als are held Tues­day even­ings at 7 at St. Jerome’s. Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing should con­tact ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Chuck Math­ues at  215-745-4695. ••


You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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