Residents from Bayonne, Jersey City, and Hoboken will debut their talents as part of the North River Sing Community Chorus at a concert called “Wine and Cheese and Song” at 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 at St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 83 Wayne St., between Barrow and Jersey streets in downtown Jersey City.
The group will ask audience members for a $10 donation, but people can attend for free. The concert will feature a singalong.
The community chorus, which formed early in 2014, will perform songs from the American Song Book and will include favorites from composers such as Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and George Gershwin.
This is the first community chorus in New Jersey dedicated to American musical theater. The group wants volunteers from throughout Hudson County and the area to help celebrate songs from what the organizers call the Great American Songbook.
The Great American Songbook reportedly represents the best, most influential composers from the 20th century and their songs, a genre which went into an eclipse with the emergence of the rock n’ roll era. More liberal interpretations of the songbook, however, sometimes include works by Lennon & McCartney, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
“We Christmas caroled at numerous outdoor spots in Jersey City.” – Liz Morrill
Amateurs and professionals wanted
The group started to recruit last year and currently includes members from Jersey City, Hoboken and Bayonne, and some towns outside Hudson County. While a few of the members have studied or performed music at venues that include Le Voci International, the Chorus of Financial Supervisory Commission Taiwan, and the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, many including Morrill herself previously performed with Schola Cantorum on Hudson.
Most of the chorus, however, does not have experience. Some cannot even read music.
The name “North River Sing” derives from an old nautical moniker for the part of the Hudson River that lies between New York City and New Jersey.
Morrill said she loves Broadway show tunes and wanted to find people throughout North Jersey who feel as passionately as she does. She previously sang with a similar chorus at the 92 Street Y in New York City, and she wanted to form a group as part of the Jersey City arts scene.
“We’re still recruiting,” she said. “Our next session runs from Feb. 8 through June 7, and we will be holding auditions for new members on Sat., Jan. 31 in downtown Jersey City.”
Rehearsals will culminate in semi-annual concerts open to the public and free of charge. Chorus membership will be open to any adult who can hold a tune, and auditions (slated for early September) as well as subsequent weekly rehearsals will take place in downtown Jersey City. Members will be required to pay a semi-annual membership fee solely to cover the organization’s operating expenses.
Rehearsals take place Sundays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Last fall they rehearsed at Victory Hall on Grand Street, but starting in February they will rehearse in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church on Wayne Street.
To sign up for an audition, call (917) 969-1911 or visit www.northriversing.org.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.