Dear Friends and Families of the SoHarmoniums and SoHo Voces,
Welcome to SoHo Notes, our brand new newsletter! Typically, you’ll find information about our concerts and other appearances, relevant articles or ideas as well as a profile of a SoHarmonium (or maybe one day, a longtime audience member). This issue features Elizabeth Nunez, our fabulous founding Conductor along with some exciting news. Enjoy!
Ring in the New Year
Our upcoming December 16th concert theme is Ring in the New….and features almost all new music, but I bet you’ll remember three we’ve sung before: Water Under Snow is Weary, White Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Ok, ok, it’s only an overnight, but even so…The SoHarmoniums have been invited to perform at the 13th Annual Women’s Choir Festival at Syracuse University on April 16, 2016. There will be pairs of women’s adult, collegiate and high school choirs, accompanied by a women’s orchestra. Each of the six groups will sing one selection with their own conductor - ours will be the always rip-rousing My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord. Then we will all sing together under the baton of the renowned conductor Vance George.
Interview: Elizabeth Nunez
Now, to Elizabeth. Who is perfect. Our gifted, much-loved conductor and musical director, Elizabeth McKinney Nunez, was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, went to college in Tennessee and earned her Masters at Oklahoma State which is where she met Francisco Nunez who was there as a guest composer and resident for the weekend. His sherpa for the visit was Elizabeth, who was by then was an assistant conductor to a children’s choir. In due course, he called her from NYC offering a job at the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, talking her into doubling her workload so as to graduate early. In the summer of 2004, she received her advanced degree and the next day packed her van and moved to New York. Francisco and Elizabeth married on October 21, 2006. They live on the Upper West Side with their children, Sebastian, 7 and Sabrina, 3 and their two Italian greyhounds, Coda and Dixie.
Q When did you know you wanted to become a conductor?
A professor asked me, at all of age 19, if i wanted to help with the local children’s choir. She gave me a lot of time in front of the children, teaching and conducting. I found I liked being part of a community, liked bringing people together. That’s when I decided.
Q Any regrets?
Q How do you define talent?
It’s a natural ability augmented by hard work and training.
Q Is there music in everyone?
Yes. There’s no society on earth that doesn’t have some form of music. I believe everyone can be taught to sing with practice and some professional training and tips.
Q In just a few words, describe your growing up years.
Simple, full of love. It was a conservative family where faith was the driving force always. My family laughs very easily.
Q Describe your life today.
Complex, wonderful. I have a completely crazy, perfect life. Always high energy. We’re a loud family, full of opinions. Four strong personalities.
Q Describe what you would like your life to become.
I think we’re there. We’re good: I’m very happy with what is.
Q What is your favorite word?
Joy. Or any positive, happy words.
Q What is your least favorite word?
Q What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Connecting with others.
Q What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Q What is your favorite sound or noise?
My family laughing.
Q What is your least favorite sound or noise?
Q What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Probably advertising or marketing, or better, event planning. I like projects with lots of moving parts. I like puzzles to solve.
Q What profession would you not like to do?
Anything with math!
Q If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Your family is doing great.
(with thanks to Bernard Pivot and Robert Lipton for the purloined questions)
A Few More Thoughts...
We’re now gearing up for our grand FETE on May 14, 2016, to celebrate our tenth anniversary. By the end of our very first semester, we grew from six singers to fifteen and dared to present our first concert -- of course, at the loft : we were simply too timid to rent a space. Many husbands attended (the smart ones still do).
And, we have recently become a 501(c)(3). Check out our new online Donate Page on our website and you’ll see how easy it is to give in small and large ways. The dues for our singers are $575 a year and about a fourth now receive some form of subsidy. If you would like to contribute to our General Scholarship Fund or even to support a specific singer that would be lovely, and of course contributions to our General Operating Fund are also happily accepted. Cheer on New York’s Own Women’s Choir (hey, i didn’t name us that, the Alice Tully folks did!). Even better, become one of our Founding Fans with a $575 contribution! To thank you for that, we are initiating an annual pour at the loft where you will be specially feted and serenaded, and your name will be celebrated in our Concert program.
And by the way, did you know….
- None of The Beatles could read music!
- Your heartbeat changes and mimics the music you listen to (sweet).
- The song Jingle Bells was originally written for Thanksgiving (go figure….)
We are so fortunate in our friends and families who enjoy and celebrate our music. Our singers come from many varied backgrounds and persuasions, but, at our very hearts’ home, we all simply love to sing to you, our community, for the binding experience of shared musical joy.
Thanks and welcome,
Deborah McManus, Founder