DuBOIS — The DuBois-based music group The Lakeshore Singers has been improvising to keep music alive throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
President Stefanie Penvose said the nonprofit organization, incorporated in September 2018, began with a group of people passionate for music performing at Carnegie Hall, as part of a Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).
“We decided we didn’t want this journey to end, and agreed to keep the group going at a local level,” she said.
The singers have recruited an average of 20 locals, and has “honorary members” around the country, said Artistic Director Andrew Hipwell. A group of 11 will travel to New York City over Thanksgiving to perform “The Messiah.”
The group travels to entities in the area, Penvose said, including Smithtown Community Church, Grace United Methodist Church, Christ the King Manor, Nelson’s Golden Years and Wesley Woods Camp. It also performs at events like the Suicide Walk for Prevention and Awareness in September.
Penvose and Hipwell say music is just their way of life.
“Fellowship is so important to so many of us in the group because music is our passion,” Hipwell notes.
Through the pandemic, the group has been forced to change its “normal” way of performing, Hipwell says. The Lakeshore Trio, consisting of three members and other community members, sings weekly for a live-streamed church service.
“Through the virtual choir projects, we are also able to connect with other musicians from all over the world, and that has been extremely rewarding,” Penvose adds. “We are trying to stay connected with members of this community as well as we can, and now making connections throughout the world.”
Eight members of The Lakeshore Singers — Andrew and Adriana Hipwell, Stefanie and Jacob Penvose, Nancy Hills, Jenny and Andi Gordon and Ariel Carney — participted in “Virtual Choir 6” with Eric Whitacre, which will premiere around the world this summer, featuring 17,562 singers from 129 countries.
This project was a first for Lakeshore members, they said.
“We were able to learn the parts ‘together,’ but we had to submit a video of only ourselves singing,” Penvose said. “We are extremely proud of our two middle school members who were successful in completing this project, as it was very challenging for us adults who have music degrees and have been singing/making music for years. We were honored to be able to represent the DuBois area that holds such a rich tradition in supporting the arts in this international effort.”
The singers will perform at Christ the King Manor for an outdoor concert for the residents as part of “International Make Music Day” June 21, Penvose and Hipwell says.
Those who have a love for singing and want to provide a ministry to the community can call or text 814-591-6719 or visit The Lakeshore Singers on Facebook.