GREENFIELD — There’s nothing like a little time in Latvia to recharge for the 2014-15 Greenfield Community Choir season.
Director Chris Lamb recently returned from the Baltic country in Northern Europe, where she immersed herself in the country’s rich musical heritage, especially its choral culture.
In addition to soaking up the country’s folk and native music that Latvians have been singing for hundreds of years, Lamb witnessed the World Choir Games – the Olympics of choral music – where more than 470 choirs from all over the world gathered in the Latvian capital of Riga to air out their collective pipes.
How big is choral music in Latvia?
More than 100 of the games’ choirs hailed from Latvia, which is about the size of West Virginia, Lamb said.
“It was magical. I will never look at music the same. They have been singing their folk music for hundreds of years, and everyone sings it. Singing has become a part of their life.”
Little wonder, then, that Greenfield Community Choir is building on last year’s momentum and adding an additional concert and a few new wrinkles to its calendar this year.
“Last year ended well,” said Lamb, who enters her second full season as artistic director. “We expanded our dinner theater to two nights and filled the room.”
The group will hold its first concert of this season in late September at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, featuring a performance of country music standards in “That Good Ol’ Country Music.”
Choir President Lee Padgett said members are eager to open at the Ricks. It’s a new venue for the ensemble.
“We’re excited about that,” Padgett said. “It’s going to be a country show, and that’s a good one to start there.”
In Dec. 14, the choir will perform “Christmas Around the World,” with holiday musical selections spanning the globe, and on March 8, group returns to the Ricks at 2 p.m. for its classical concert featuring classical Americana music.
In May, the season rounds out with another two-night dinner theater May 1 and May 2 at Trinity Park United Methodist Church in Greenfield.
New for this season are a couple of musical revues slated for Oct. 18 and Feb. 13 that will showcase soloists and small ensemble performances, Lamb said.
“We have some really talented people, and we need to have some way to have those people shine,” she said. “They are some really funny people, and there are some really funny songs.”
Padgett said the revues will be something a bit out of the ordinary for the choir.
“It’s a way to not be so structured and a way to relax and some fun,” she said.
The revues will include a wide variety of entertainment, ranging from musical skits to opera and comedy.
“That’s kind of our new thing this year,” Lamb said. “We may add more.”
In addition to its full performances, the choir will form a small ensemble with an established set list that can sing on request at community events and locations such as nursing homes and other venues to serve the area, Lamb said.
“And we’re still working on a way to add an educational component,” she said. “You can’t just serve the choir; you need to serve the community.”
Currently standing as a 60-member unit, the choir is always looking for extra voices.
“We’re hoping for some new ones,” Lamb said. “We have 60, and that’s a good size, but we would like to have 75.”
“We’d like to have anyone who likes to sing,” Padgett said. “You don’t have to be a professional musician.”
HOW TO JOIN:
Greenfield Community Choir will have its first rehearsal of the new season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Greenfield Christian Church, 24 N. East St., Greenfield. To join, go to www.greenfieldcommunitychoir.com; or contact Chris Lamb at (765) 717-9263 or Lee Padgett at (317) 462-3800.