PopUp Chorus, the community ensemble that welcomes singers of all ages and talents, welcomes a new program for musical theater lovers this fall.
PopUp Broadway is PopUp Chorus, but with a musical twist – at each monthly event, attendees will sing two musical theater songs; one classic piece paired with a more contemporary one.
“I wanted to explore musical theater repertoire for several reasons – because I personally adore it, because I was being asked for it repeatedly by folks who attend PopUp Chorus events, and because it offers another opportunity and challenge level for people who love to sing,” Lauren Bromley Hodge, founder of PopUp Chorus, said.
Lauren, a former record executive and current Carrboro resident, founded PopUp Chorus in 2014. The group provides a fun, comfortable space for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to come together and sing. At each gathering, attendees pay a small fee to learn two pop songs from well-known artists like David Bowie and Taylor Swift. After a bit of practice, a conductor leads everyone in singing the songs together and a music video is recorded. There’s no pressure for perfection – just the joy of singing together.
“We will continue to welcome all ability levels to our events, but I have come to learn time and again from our PopUp Chorus events, how much people miss singing and how distanced they feel from the whole process,” said Lauren. “Many people sang as children, in school or at church and then simply did not have the opportunity as adults.”
PopUp Broadway’s monthly sessions will be guided by conductor Dr. Allan Friedman, a music director, teacher, composer and clinician in the Triangle.
“I think that our society is increasingly fractured and increasingly focused inward. People spend more and more time with their phones and computers and less time engaging each other,” said Allan. “We spend more time with people we know and less time getting to know others outside our social circle. Music can be an incredible facilitator in drawing folks out of their inward focus and into a vibrant community.”
In addition to guiding these sessions, Allan will also select a surprise musical theater song for each event as a warm-up for the singer. If you enjoy singing in any capacity, he encourages you to come out to an event.
“This is a low pressure, high fun event. You don’t need to be able to sing well, and you don’t need to know anyone else who is going,” said Allan. “No one will judge you for your voice or your knowledge. It’s a chance to make great music in a welcoming setting with minimal commitment. Singing, especially group singing, makes you feel good!”
When asked about her favorite musicals, Lauren mentions Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music.
“I saw The Sound of Music in NYC in 1965 when it first came out as a film, and danced I danced in the aisle to the equal pleasure and embarrassment of my mother, no doubt,” Lauren says. “It is probably my all-time favorite musical tied in first place with West Side Story, that went even further for me because the film version went to new places with modern dance.”
Singers can also sing and dance along to tunes from The Sound of Music in addition to Les Miserables at PopUp Broadway’s debut event tonight, October 26, at The ArtsCenter. The second event for the program, which will run on the third or fourth Thursday of each month, will be on Nov. 30 and include songs from RENT and The Wizard of Oz. To check out PopUp Chorus’ past events, take a look at their YouTube channel.