SoHo Notes #6 • Spring 2018

Announcement of May 15, 2018 Spring Concert

In Between

Sounds and Spaces

at Merkin Hall, 129 West 67th Street, 8:00-9:15pm.
Tickets can be bought online at:


  • Song of Ezekiel
  • Weep No More
  • Hegyi Ejszalak
  • Call
  • Liminality
  • Bring Me Little Water Sylvie
  • The Water is Wide
  • No Time
  • Elijah Rock
  • Libertango
  • Hooked on Classics
  • Song of Ezekiel
  • Weep No More
  • Hegyi Ejszalak
  • Call
  • Liminality
  • Bring Me Little Water Sylvie
  • The Water is Wide
  • No Time
  • Elijah Rock
  • Libertango
  • Hooked on Classics

Announcing, a brand new website
sporting a new look and clearer access to everything
we want to share with you. Check it out!

Our goal is to provide you with a straightforward way to see us and hear our music as well as find concert information. We also wanted to make it easy for prospective singers to learn about our chorus, its history and our approach to music making. And, of course we wanted to keep our trademark whimsical and 
lyrical design aesthetic. We will continue to update our content with helpful information, the latest news, and of course, our music. When you have a minute, take a look and listen at

A big Brava to Renata Coco for donating her time and energy to envision this site and a hearty thank you to Avisha NessAiver for making it happen! For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please email us at tech@soharmoniums.

From WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

by Daniel Pink


“Choral singing might be the new exercise.”
“Choral singing calms the heart and boosts endorphin levels. It improves lung function.”
“It increases pain thresholds and reduces the need for pain medication.”
“People who sing in a group report far higher well-being than those who sing solo.”

But HEY! We SoHarmoniums already knew all this — just nice that the word is getting out...

Meet Shazia Rafi


Shazia is a parliamentary diplomacy expert and currently the President and Convenor of AirQualityAsia, a global advocacy campaign working with Asian governments and legislatures to meet the clean air UN Sustainable Development Goals.

From 1996 to 2013, she was the Secretary-General of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), a nonprofit, non-partisan organization of elected legislators from over 130 countries that leverage parliamentary processes to promote peace, international law, gender equality and reproductive health.

Shazia, who speaks five languages, has a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1983) and graduated Magna cum Laude from Bryn Mawr College (1979) in Political Science, with junior year in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Among many other things, she serves as founding Board member of WomanSG, a campaign to elect a woman UN Secretary-General and is an inaugural board member for the Asian Women’s University, Malaysia. She is currently serving as the UN Representative for the All Pakistan Women’s Association, the oldest (est. 1949) and largest women’s organization in Pakistan. She lives in New York and has two daughters.

When did you know that international politics and global challenges would be your profession?

Fairly early on, middle school. In 1970, Pakistan had its first free elections exposing political divisions between West and East Pakistan leading to a civil war. India intervened on behalf of East Pakistan which became Bangladesh. I realized then that as a country, we were not always the controller of our destiny so 
I started following international politics. Initially I thought I would train for the Pakistan Foreign Service but in 1977 our fledgling democracy was toppled by a military coup. The dictator joined hands with President Reagan against the Soviet Union to fight the Afghanistan war. We live today with the terrible heritage and implications of that war. To find out more about that period I recommend George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War I have since made huge life changes and remade myself as a globalist.

Are you hopeful for the environmental future of our world?

I’m hopeful that many in this next generation are at least realising something is deeply wrong. But I’m worried that the time left of meeting global carbon budget goals under the Paris agreement on Climate Change is now very tight. We basically have 3 years to turn it around. But in every country’s political system there are good people pushing hard for initiatives on these issues.

How would you describe your growing up years?

My mother was a homemaker and my father was an engineer from an old political family in Pakistan. 
The Jesuits at my Irish-Catholic convent school gave us an excellent education. For university, the choice was either England or the U.S. Actually my first choice was England but in 1971 when Bangladesh became independent and Pakistan resigned from The Commonwealth, we lost all the educational scholarships, 
so I applied to Bryn Mawr. Academically I was happy but emotionally no, it was too sharp a transition. 
A whole year by myself was a bit isolating.

What is your life like now?

After 26 years at an international organisation, I now work from home. I have a frenetic schedule of my own choosing, so I’m enjoying it. I’m really focusing on helping Asian countries meet acceptable air quality standards by 2030.

What would you like your life to become?

If there’s a next phase, I would eventually like to my time to be divided between New York and Lahore.

What is your favorite word?

Politics. Womens Rights. Music — I love our (SH) music and qawwali (Pakistani choral music). Sunshine. 
Blue sky. Ocean.

What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

My children (her younger daughter Zara, is now training to be a pediatrician and was -and we hope will be again a proud member of the SoHarmoniums).

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Misogyny. I see it in the fields in which I work. Too many manels (=man panels).

What is your most favorite sound or noise? 

The human voice singing.

What is your least favorite sound or noise?

A drill.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

To be a singer.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Professionally, I’m most proud of my time when I was Secretary-General of PGA.

Personally, my two girls, Maha and Zara. They are both good human beings.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

I hope to hear ‘Now you can come in and relax.’

Where Are They Now

Shana Adise, a former YPCer and SoHarmonium, sadly traded in her metro card to pursue her Ph.D. at Penn State University. She graduated in December 2017 and is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Vermont. In her spare time, she still enjoys singing, however, she has not found a replacement for the SoHarmoniums. She says those shoes are too big to fill. So, she has added to her list of hobbies hiking and exploring the outdoors.


Cara Bernard sang with the Soharmoniums for 10 years and was a founding conductor of the SoHo Voces, our a cappella group.

She’s now Assistant Professor of Music Education at UConn where she teaches courses in choral methods, elementary methods and curriculum.
She supervises student teaching as well as creating policy, curriculum, and outreach to make the Arts accessible and equitable for all students. She is also the children’s chorus chair for the CT ACDA chapter. Cara recently completed a soon to be published book, Navigating Teacher Evaluation: A Guide for Music Teachers, an extension of her dissertation research (which won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Council of Research in Music Education)

Lydia Darling, Soprano 1, was profiled in Columbia University’s November issue of The Record. She is now Senior Administrative Coordinator, Office of the Provost as well as coaching at the student-run Columbia Bach Society. She is a member of The Cantani Project which stages operas such as Mozart’s Don Giovanni.


Longtime Upper West Side resident Madge Huntington is moving to Flagstaff, Arizona to be near
her daughter.


Here’s Rebecca Lovesky along with husband Richard who recorded our early concerts and her daughter Rosa who sang with us (they also have two sons). Rebecca works privately in NYC with clients recovering from severe brain injuries as well as with children with a variety of medical challenges. She also lifts weights, does Pilates and yoga.

Richard raises funds through Family Unity International to provide therapeutic services and sustainable assisted living for families with loved ones on the autistic spectrum.

Rosa graduated college with a degree on Scientific Illustration, then worked in Sicily and Spain with archeologists and anthropologists. She’s now in grad school for Fine Arts (with a growing interest in sculpture) and will be teaching in Sicily this summer and rock-climbing throughout Europe.


And Featuring


Such Beautiful Brides

(or, in Streisand parlance, 3 Gorgeous Sadies) Megan Malloy (now) Davolos and her husband James honeymooned in Hawaii (they bumped into Jenny Burton on their flight, for heaven’s sake!)  and are now living in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Franny Eberhart, founding singer and proud alto 2, hobnobbing with Mayor Bloomberg.

Or wait! Maybe he is the one doing the hobnobbing . . .


After a gradual move to Los Angeles, Renata Coco and sweetie Dan Goldberg finally left for a honeymoon at Christmas. They went briefly to Shanghai, then to Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Railay Beach), along the way playing with elephants, rafting, beaching, rock-climbing and cooking in the hills of Chiang Mai . . . not to mention watching a lot of sunsets and eating their way through the country!


Kat Lawlor and her husband, David Kimball-Stanley were married in Delray Beach, Florida on December 30th (New Year’s Eve eve) and honeymooned in a rainy, cold, but very magical Paris. And -hooray!- they are moving back to New York City this summer.

Love, best wishes
and much happiness
to them all!


Busy, our Official Mascot


Year 2000: Here’s six-week old Baby Busy, a tiny handful! She had just seen our 87 pound golden labrador, Harry, and instantly puffed up and hissed at him. Tis a wise dog who knows how to pick his fights: he fled. One of our singers called her “companionable” and that she was. I would add super energetic and endlessly curious -thus her name- as well as a world class cuddler. She died two days after Christmas.


South Sami

Norway’s Arctic-dwelling indigenous Sami minority is best known for its traditional practice of reindeer husbandry. However, the country’s laws require herders to cull their already tiny flocks, making it very difficult to support their families. Sami protesters installed strings of bullet-ridden reindeer skulls in front of Norway’s Supreme Court, demanding repeal
of these reduction laws. “Sami herders feel like they are being squashed in . . . .” Alas, two weeks later, the herder lost his appeal and must cull 41 of his 116 reindeer. You can listen to us sing one of their hauntingly beautiful songs on our website.

 See you at our May 15, 2018 Spring Concert! Cheers,

Deborah (the Founder, not the reindeer)