Good Morning, Good Morning. Well, it seems this is a week filled with musical announcements! So if you like to take part in a little of enjoyment and supporting of the arts while you are visiting St. John, pay attention over the next few days because there are loads of ways to do just that! I have received a ton of messages from all of you about upcoming holiday events and activities and while the full list of St. John events is coming this Friday, today we are talking about an uplifting and non-profit driven holiday concert. Oh, and if you are on St. John for the next few months, you are invited to rehearse and participate!
Ok, so first, mark your calendars if you are visiting us during the holidays! Because Sing St. John and the St. John Recovery Choir has invited you to become part of an island-wide celebration in the park in Cruz Bay on Dec. 23. This will be the organization’s first live and in-person holiday concert in Franklin Powell Sr. Park since the onset of the pandemic in 2019, and Kristen Carmichael-Bowers, executive director of Sing St. John which is producing the event, has been deep in preparation for months.
The Recovery Choir was formed and named as such after Hurricane Irma as a way for community members to gather, sing and heal from the emotional wounds inflicted in the aftermath of the devastating event. It’s one of those silver linings that came through in a dark time and we all know at this point in our recovery process to pay attention to those, right? And, like the salt of the sea, music does heal all wounds 🙂
For the past two years, the Recovery Choir has rehearsed and performed its concerts virtually through Zoom, and Carmichael-Bowers is thrilled to go live. “We’re in person again! It’s a big deal!”
“Zoom is wonderful as a way of keeping us connected on some level,” Carmichael-Bowers added. “But last year in March, when we began to sing together outdoors, we realized the elation of hearing each other’s sounds at the exact same time, and without that split-second delay on Zoom. For voices to be heard in a moment, exactly as they are, has something to do with a profound sense of belonging. It’s hard to define, but it’s real.”
The Recovery Choir is non-denominational and performs songs from many holiday traditions during their annual holiday gathering in the park near the ferry dock – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Solstice. This year, the Recovery Choir will learn Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah,” a time-honored favorite. They will be joined during the performance by several St. John church choirs and musical organizations who will also take their turn upon the stage. A truly all-inclusive community event.
“The Hallelujah Chorus” is an ambitious piece, Carmichael-Bowers admits. But she’s had decades of experience teaching the gift of singing and music to children, adults, and seniors – from beginners to professionals. “I will work with ‘newbies,’ and with people who haven’t sung in a while or don’t feel confident,” she said.
Oh, did I mention that rehearsals start TODAY? If you are on St. John for a good bit over the next several months, find yourself with some free time on Tuesday evenings and have an itch to dust the cobwebs off of your vocal cords while participating in an awesome community centric project, well, you might want to head in to start practice tonight!
Rehearsals will be held every Tuesday at 5:30PM at the Gifft Hill School Upper Campus and all new members, whether experienced or not, are welcome to join in the fun! Carmichael-Bowers supplies singers with guide tracks on CDs, sheet music and lyric sheets. Additionally, rehearsals for each individual section are scheduled for evenings on Monday (tenor and bass) and Thursday (soprano and alto) and will be held online through Zoom.
For more information or to join the Recovery Choir, go to Sing St. John’s website and click on the box to register. The $50 registration fee will be waived upon request. “We don’t want the fee to deter anyone from joining,” Carmichael-Bowers said.
For further information, call 340-227-4920 or send an email to info@singstjohn.
The Recovery Choir is one of seven programs presented by Sing St. John which is supported solely by community donations and grants. Right now, Sing St. John is halfway through its annual fall appeal to raise $60,000 to meet a matching grant generously offered by Martha Robes and Dana Robes.
“It’s a great time to donate to Sing St. John,” said Carmichael-Bowers. “Every donation, no matter the size, goes twice as far.”
Donations can be made online with a credit or debit card, or through PayPal by clicking this link. Check can be mailed to Sing St. John, Box 37, St. John, VI 00831.
In addition to the attending the much-anticipated Holiday Concert on December 23, you can catch the talents of Sing St. John at the following events this fall and winter with more concerts to be announced at later dates. If you are interested in attending one of the below events and the date and location are TBD, follow Sing St. John on Facebook for more details!
- Veterans Day
- Friday November 11 – Location TBD
- Bizarre Bazaar in Coral Bay (Do NOT miss this event if you are on island the weekend of December 10 – more details to follow!)
- Saturday December 10 – Pickle’s in Paradise – Time TBD
- Singing in Coral Bay
- December 15 – 5:30PM – Location TBA
- Caroling in Cruz Bay
- Tuesday December 20 – 5PM-7PM – All around the town 🙂