Move over, farm-to-fork – there is a new local trend on the rise. The latest in avocation is the community choir. Although mainstream entertainment iterates that singing belongs to a select few, music-making was and is a community-based phenomenon, given the tradition spans cultures and generations. According to research from the University of Oxford, the process of singing and learning new songs is cognitively stimulating, helps improve memory and mood, and has even been shown to help those suffering from dementia. Community choirs help expand social groups, which translates to extended lifespan.
Door County is home to its very own community choir. Although the choir previously operated as Sevastopol Community Choir as part of Sevastopol School’s community outreach, it underwent a name change this past summer. According to the choir’s director, Cheryl Pfister, when she announced she was switching schools last spring, “the Sevastopol Community Choir wanted to stay together and work to increase our presence in Door County as a charitable choir that sings for enjoyment and education for its members and the community.”
Over the past summer, choir members decided a name change was appropriate to reflect the identity change, and the Community Choir of Door County (CCDC) was born. Pfister said, “[We] hoped that with the name change, people not directly associated with the township of Sevastopol would also feel welcome to participate.”
The CCDC’s mission is to promote social singing and provide community outreach for seniors, veterans and community service organizations like Door County Feed and Clothe My People. Pfister said when the choir started four years ago, “many of our members had never been in a choir, many did not read music, and rehearsals started at the very basic level.” The choir chooses a variety of genres from pop, musical medleys, folk songs and traditional classical songs.
They are a community of people of all ages and levels of talent who are united by a common love of song. Member Dennis Connolly said he joined the group because he loves to sing, “especially when I know my part.” He said he enjoys that other members come from all walks of life.
The choir is preparing for an early November combined concert with the Peninsula Symphonic Band (directed by Paula Eggert). They will sing with the band on a few patriotic sing-alongs, as well as a piece requested by Nancy Reagan for former President Ronald Reagan’s funeral, “The Mansions of the Lord.” Other pieces include arrangements incorporating Johnny Cash and The Beatles. The choir welcomes area organizations to contact the group for entertainment opportunities.
The CCDC emphasizes there are no auditions or mandatory attendance requirements for choir membership. Rehearsals are Monday evenings from 5:30 – 7 pm in the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish basement, 4767 E. Dunn Road in Sturgeon Bay. Performances are scheduled fall through late spring. Dues are $25 per season to cover expenses (if cost is a barrier to membership, please contact the CCDC via email at [email protected]). They can also be found on Facebook or reached via phone at 920.495.9165.
Be sure to stay apprised of their schedule, as the choir plans to also orchestrate a “Beer Choir” – a choral get-together in the style of a pop-up, where local pubs and breweries host singalongs based on the “Beer Drinking Hymnal.” The CCDC plans to meet at various establishments throughout the county and invite the community to sing and partake in libations as they take donations for local charities.