One hundred and seventy people from diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups, ranging in age from 14 to 89, all have one thing in common: they sing in PHS Multigenerational Chorus. They also have something with voices from around the world: This year, in addition to performing their usual annual October concert for the community, on Sept. 21 they’ll be singing the same song, “Ukuthula,” as thousands of other vocalists as part of a world day of peace.
The chorus, created and directed by award winning PHS vocal music teacher Susan Laushman, brings community members — from recent graduates now attending PSU to retired individuals — into the high school music classroom to sing side by side with students.
The chorus has rehearsed in the PHS vocal music room on Wednesdays and Thursdays since August. Now in its eighth year, the chorus continues to grow and bridge the ages of our community through singing.
This year’s concert will focus on “World Peace,” a theme Laushman chose in consideration of the unrest we’ve witnessed in the past several months.
September 21: Global singing
In collaboration with Dr. Kevin Fenton and Florida State Festival Singers, “Multi-Gen,” as the chorus calls itself, will participate in a global singing of “UKUTHULA” (African Song of Peace). The performance, one of many that day by choirs around the world, will be recorded on video by a Pittsburg student, Simon Walter, and submitted to avoice4peace.com.
The recording will take place at Memorial Auditorium between noon and 1 p.m. on Sept. 21. In addition to submitting the recording to Fenton’s effort, it later will be made available to the community – and the world — through the PHS performing arts YouTube channel and the school’s vocal music website at www.pittsburghighschoolvocal.com.
October 27: Multigenerational Concert, Memorial Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Twice-weekly rehearsals began September 7 and 8. The concert’s theme, World Peace, is reflected in each of its musical selections, from “Imagine” by John Lennon to “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson to “One Day” by Matisyahu. The pieces will be tied together by photo, video, and a narrative script by local writer Andra Stefanoni, who is a member of the choir along with her son, Dominic, 15, and mother, Janeil Bryan, 76.
There are many such relationships in the choir, including John Bayliss and his son Mason, a recent PHS graduate now attending PSU, and John’s daughter Cassidy, a PHS sophomore; and Pam Hurt-McLarty and her daughter, Cassie, a PHS junior. A few, like Kaye Lynn Webb, whose adult daughter, Susie Lundy, also is a member, represent the class of 1956 as alumni. Others, like Mary Mummert, who just turned 80, have no family nor school ties to the choir — they simply love to participate because of the opportunity it provides them to engage in their love of music and to feel more connected to the community.
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Memorial Auditorium (please note: The district calendar listing it as being held at the Bicknell Center is incorrect). The concert is free and open to the community.