Here’s what Blue Ridge Vocal Connection singers say about the experience:
Love this group! I was looking for the right community 4-part harmony group to join and build my vocal skills in addition to enjoying the musical journey. This is it!
And I love the director— he is technically very competent and a beautiful voice and he brings out the best in his vocalists while having fun and not taking himself or us too seriously. Beautiful and fun songs. Enjoyable music journey.
Not only have I never sung in a choir before, I have never sung at all before. Everybody was very welcoming and happy to help me, even though they are all great singers and much more experienced than I am.
I would encourage ANYBODY to do this - if I can, so can you!
BRVC chorus gave me a couple of firsts – kazoos in warm-ups (FYI, solo cups also work), and the first mixed voice group where the tenors & basses outnumbered the sopranos & altos (2 to 1, if you are wondering. Yes, I counted…).
Good people, fun music, a nice balance between easy and challenging…no prior experience necessary, so if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sing in a group – come!
I like singin’. Better than a stick in the eye.
What a fun time we have at rehearsals. It’s been so long since I sang in my church choir and high school I'd forgotten the joy that it gave me. Thomas is a charming and fun director and has coaxed a lot of good sounds out of us. Certainly not perfect but enjoyable still the same.
I am truly blessed to be a part of the Blue Ridge vocal group. My heart soars high when I am able to share my voice with others. This group of people are wonderful people with beautiful voices.
Our chorus consists of a wide variety of musicians, from near beginners to singers who have been chorus directors themselves. Our director, Thomas DeBusk, does a good job of pulling us all together, to sing as we need to. He does so with selected praise and good humor.
He starts us out with good vocal warm ups. (I had not thought a kazoo to be worthy for chorus level instruction, but Thomas brings out some good points of breath control using the lowly kazoo.) The songs he selects are within our range of learning and, for the most part, to my own liking.
I have been involved in choral singing for the past several years, thanks to some gentle (or blunt) encouragement from the Blue Ridge Vocal Connection director, Thomas DeBusk. He convinced me that, in spite of the fact I had never learned to read music, and had no formal training of any kind, I could, in fact, sing.
I grew up with congregational singing in church, so did everything by ear, and developed the ability to harmonize. Sometimes that works great, but sometimes not so much when what I’m singing doesn’t match what’s on the page. Engaging in a structured choral program, with vocal exercises, regular warm-ups, and strong support from the director has allowed me to grow exponentially as a vocalist, and a musician.
I have to give Thomas the majority of the credit for that. He pushed me completely out of my comfort zone, but offered encouragement and support along the way. Singing with Blue Ridge Vocal Connection is one of the greatest joys in my life, and it has been a genuine pleasure to be involved with this organization. Also, I absolutely love the fact that we sing such a wide variety of music. It satisfies my eclectic tastes!
Blue Ridge Vocal Connection
Thomas L. DeBusk