Choir happenings: Surprises at the first practice

Pam Leszar of the Redmond Community Choir (submitted photo)

Note: Pam Leszar is a member of the newly formed Redmond Community Choir. She writes occasional updates for the Spokesman on her experience with the singing group.

During the weeks between signing up for the Redmond Community Choir and our first rehearsal Sept. 23, the fear factor kicked in.

My biggest fear was that our choir director would...drum roll please...ask me to sing. Seriously.

What if he wanted to hear what my voice sounded like? What would come out? A squeak? A tiny trembling vibrato? The jig would be up and I would be revealed for the wanna-be that I am.

My second fear was that no one would show up. I envisioned a couple dozen people of a certain age who together couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. What a fix we would be in, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

When I arrived at the Central Oregon Community College Redmond Campus, I was surprised to find a full parking lot in front of the Technology Building. Walking up the stairs to room 209, I was greeted by a pleasant hum of conversation, and as I walked into the room I was thrilled to see that it was full. Really full.

I found out later that there were 80 of us, plus a waiting list of 15. And there were men and women of all ages.

After a brief introduction, Choir Director Ken Piarulli got down to business. We began with a beautiful choral piece called “Gifts.” There were a few stumbles along the way as Ken got acquainted with us and we got comfortable with him, but in a surprisingly short time we were actually making music. We went on to tackle “Ain’t Judgin’ No Man,” which is sung a cappella and has some challenging phrasing. Then we finished with “Over the Rainbow.” Before I knew it, our time was up.

As I drove home after that first rehearsal, the word that came to mind was joy — the pleasure and privilege of singing beautiful compositions, in the company of other music lovers, directed by a skilled musician who obviously knew what he was doing.

I couldn’t wait to go back.

— Contact Pam Leszar at

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