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Music

Crystal Lake concert to celebrate 30 years of Voices in Harmony

Choir to premiere song composed in honor of anniversary

Celebrating its 30th anniversary April 9, Voices in Harmony will premiere a song written in the choir’s honor as it reflects on three decades worth of performances.

The group formed in 1987 to take part in the first Crystal Lake Fourth of July Gala. The singers enjoyed the performance so much, they kept singing, and several of them haven’t stopped since the choir’s beginning.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see what has grown over the years,” member Tom Vos said.

So beautiful to Vos, in fact, that the musician and composer was inspired to write the song, “Reflections” specifically about the choir.

Performing as a violinist in the Voices in Harmony orchestra after high school, Vos became a member about five years ago after moving back to Crystal Lake from California.

The inspiration behind the song comes from both performing with the choir at sunset at Main Beach and seeing the sun rise over West Beach as part of an Easter service, Vos said. He intertwined that concept with the patriotic music often performed by Voices in Harmony, working with the lyrics of songs such as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

“I guess the best way to describe it if I had to sum it up, imagine if the lake itself could sing and reflect back the music to us,” he said.

The 45-member group will premiere the song – along with a sample of songs performed for numerous audiences throughout the years – at 4 p.m. April 9 at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors at 815-365-9212, www.rauecenter.org or www.voices-in-harmony.org.

The concert also will feature the Winds Off The Lake Woodwind Quintet.

Among the songs planned is “The Best of Rooms,” the first song the choir performed as the Crystal Lake Community Choir. The group later changed its name in 2007 to Voices in Harmony to better represent its members, who come from throughout McHenry County and beyond, said Steven Szalaj, the founding and current artistic director of the group.

Approached by Joyce Dwyer in 1987 to form the choir by bringing together singers from area churches, Szalaj credits other founders, such as Helen Bird, and the commitment of the group’s members to its sustainability.

“I really think it’s the people in the choir have a desire to sing really good quality choral music and they like the fellowship of coming together to sing, and I think it’s something that everybody in the choir shares a passion about,” Szalaj said.

Through the y ears, the choir has performed at Carengie Hall and regularly at the Raue, where it has hosted a Festival of the Voice, bringing together choirs from throughout the area, and raising money for the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. The group also participates in community events for Memorial Day and other holidays.

“The word ‘community’ is very important to the community choir, even though it’s not really part of our name anymore,” Szalaj said. “I’m really excited to present this to our community because it really is about Crystal Lake, and it is about the choir and our history here.”

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