Chester River Chorale launches River Voices, Hires Assistant Director

Kent, MD Music Performance

The Chester River Chorale is pleased to announce the formation of River Voices, a community outreach ensemble. This small group of highly skilled volunteer singers is drawn from the membership of the Chester River Chorale and its auditioned chamber chorus, the Chester Chamber Singers. Michelle Sensenig has recently accepted the newly created position of Assistant Director of the Chorale, and serves as Director of River Voices.

“The Chorale is excited to launch River Voices to be our community presence,” says Board President Julie Lawrence. “The Board of Directors has been investigating ways to bring CRC into the community and is delighted to be represented by this new outreach group. Having Michelle Sensenig aboard as Assistant Director gives us the perfect opportunity to share our music outside our traditional programs.”

Photo: River Voices (left to right: Bonnie Keating, Caitlin Patton, Steffi Ricketts, Jim Moseman, MG Brosius, Michelle Sensenig, Doug Hamilton, Bill Barron, Mary McCoy, Helen Clark, Andrea Neiman; not pictured: Tom Schreppler)
River Voices (left to right: Bonnie Keating, Caitlin Patton, Steffi Ricketts, Jim Moseman, MG Brosius, Michelle Sensenig, Doug Hamilton, Bill Barron, Mary McCoy, Helen Clark, Andrea Neiman; not pictured: Tom Schreppler) – Contributed Photo

River Voices gave its first performances in the Kent County community in December 2017, including performances at the Kent Center and Heron Point. A generous grant from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is partially funding River Voices in Spring 2018.

“It’s a rewarding experience to sing challenging repertoire with a small group of dedicated and enthusiastic singers, and to bring that music to the community,” says Caitlin Patton, a River Voices member and Vice President of the Chester River Chorale. “We are excited to serve our community in new ways with this ensemble.”

River Voices began as a vocal jazz ensemble, formed to sing at the Chester River Chorale’s Speakeasy fundraiser in February 2017. Afterward, the group went on to present their jazz set at Millington and Rock Hall Elementary Schools, Heron Point, and at The Mainstay as part of the National Music Festival. The Chorale’s Board had long desired to form a community outreach ensemble, and so River Voices was born. The group sings a cappella (without piano accompaniment) in order to be able to perform in a variety of venues throughout the community.

River Voices is available to perform at community functions, schools, and other local venues. While there is no fee, donations are appreciated and will go to support the Chester River Chorale, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Please contact Michelle Sensenig, River Voices Director, at crcrivervoices@gmail.com, with questions or to schedule a performance.

“Michelle is a tremendous asset to the CRC for all the skills she brings as a conductor, singer, and pianist,” says Douglas Cox, Artistic Director of Chester River Chorale. “It’s rare to find someone so highly skilled in all these areas, and who works so effectively with amateur singers. With Michelle on the staff, and with the launch of River Voices, CRC’s new community outreach ensemble, the Chorale has greatly increased its capacity to serve the community with high quality, inspiring vocal music.”
Sensenig completed a Master of Music degree in Music Education and Conducting from Colorado State University in July 2017. She has taught general music classes and directed choral ensembles from grades K-12 in Pennsylvania, and also instructed piano majors and taught English classes at a university in Central Java, Indonesia for four years. She currently works as choir director at Christ United Methodist Church and pianist in the Sacred Heart Parish. She lives in Chestertown with her husband Victor and children Aaron, Lydia, and Asher.

As a member of the Chester River Chorale the past two years, Sensenig has volunteered her musical expertise in several capacities. Now as Assistant Director, she serves as the associate conductor, leading various sectional rehearsals each week and creating instructional materials for the Chorale’s membership.

The Chester River Chorale is a vibrant all-volunteer, 90-voice community chorus in its 19th season of performing a wide variety of choral music in the Kent County community. Under the leadership of inspiring choral director and experienced professional singer Douglas Cox, the Chorale presents several concerts each holiday season and spring. Its next performances will be April 12 and 13, 2018, when it presents “Leaves of Bluegrass: American Music ~ American Poets” at the Chestertown Baptist Church. With the High and Wides Bluegrass Band, the Chorale will perform music that is uniquely American for its expansive message and optimistic tone. The Chorale will also hold a fundraiser on April 22; details will be available soon on the Chorale’s website.

For more information about the Chorale and its programming, visit www.chesterriverchorale.org. If you shop on Amazon, support the Chorale by making it your designated charity on AmazonSmile.

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