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Cedar Crest singers carry tune into tenth year

Created date

January 25th, 2010
Whether you sing in the shower or at the Metropolitan Opera, the Cedar Crest Singers group was created for those who have music in their heart. No matter your experience or voice, we re open to any new members, club codirector Blanche Blitzer says. There are no altos, no sopranos, and no auditions. All you have to do is love to sing.

Everyone should sing

The group was founded by Stan Rogers with the idea that music belongs to everyone. I had always been interested in music and had sung in a choir before. When I walked into the clubhouse, I saw a wonderful music room, says Rogers, recalling his arrival atCedar Crestthe day after the community opened in August 2001. I asked a few of my neighbors, and they all seemed interested in doing something with music. The whole idea behind the group is that everyone should sing. Singing is good for you. It s good for your diaphragm, for your breathing, and really, it s good for your state of mind. And it grew from there. I called a meeting and started it by putting on a record player. We got together and sang some songs and that was it, he says. Then we used a karaoke machine, and eventually we were able to get a piano player. That really helped the club grow. More and more people kept coming to the meetings and before we knew it, we had over 40 members.

Amateurs and pros in harmony

Connie Toth, the group s musical director and accompanist, says, I m no professional. I taught myself to read music when my children were taking lessons, but learning to play the piano was something I always wanted to do I just didn t have thetime. So when I retired and moved here, that s what I did. I taught myself to play by the chord method and now I play with the group. The group loves to sing and I love to play, so it s a lot of fun. I think we re a bunch of amateurs who aren t too bad. But they re not all amateurs... I love the informality and discipline of the group, says Ed Thom, who has a theater background and estimates that he has participated in 15 to 20 musicals over the years. Having been an actor in dinner and community theater before, he says as soon as he learned about the group when he moved toCedar Crestfour years ago, he wanted to be a part of it. They are serious about singing, but they have no pretenses and have a great time doing it.

Song catalog

Meeting weekly for years now, the group has an extensive song list. We ve sung just about anything you can think of that s popular with our generation, Blitzer says. But our favorites are songs from the 40s and 50s and, of course, just about anything from Broadway, past or present. Twice a year, the group shares its joyful sounds in spring and winter concerts. One is a holiday show, says Blitzer. We call it that because we have a little bit of everything Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years music. The other is a spring show that has lots of upbeat, happy songs. The theme of last year s spring show was Spirit of Life. It included songs like Getting to Know You from The King and I, Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof, and Can t Help Loving That Man from Showboat. The group also performed other popular tunes like Moon River and Autumn Leaves. We re still working on what we ll sing this spring, Blitzer says.