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By Cindy H. - Pittsburgh Singing Teacher
Are you a “shower singer” or a “living room singer” who has been thinking about finding others to sing with? Are you interested in taking singing lessons in Pittsburgh? Well, you’re in luck! Pittsburgh is a city of singers - ranging from casual singers, who get together just for fun, to experienced choristers and jazz singers, who rehearse tirelessly and perform on stage around the city. But, you don’t have to be a professional to find a group of like-minded singers. Here are some excellent opportunities in a number of genres.
Church Choirs If your goal is to sing regularly and learn some vocal skills along the way, singing with a church choir might be just the thing for you. Almost every church has a choir, and like the churches that host them, they vary in size. The best way to find one that suits your interests is to visit on a Sunday when the choir is singing. If you like the way they sound and the repertoire they are performing, why not introduce yourself to the choir director and ask if you can attend a rehearsal? Directors are almost always interested in finding new singers, so unless you’re visiting a church with an elite auditioned choir, odds are that you’ll get an enthusiastic welcome.
Calliope Folk Song Night If you like folk songs, you’ll love the monthly folk song night sponsored by the Calliope Folk Music Society on the third Wednesday of every month. It’s a song circle where everyone gets to lead at least a song or two of their choice, so bring your instrument and be prepared to sing your favorite song. Or, you can just sit in the circle and sing along without leading. It’s all very relaxed and casual, and if you’re learning how to sing in front of other people, the song circle is a great way to practice your skills.
Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle Calliope also sponsors a songwriters’ circle on the first Tuesday of every month. If you’re writing your own songs and want a good place to try them out, the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle is a wonderfully supportive environment.
Shape Note Sing Shape-note singers in the Pittsburgh area meet on the first Saturday of the month to sing from the 1991 Denson Sacred Harp repertoire. The shape note method was designed in the early 19th century and was intended to facilitate community singing, especially in churches. You don’t need to know anything about it to attend a sing: experienced singers buddy up with new singers so that everyone learns together. If you want to improve your sight-reading skills, shape note singing is an excellent way to push yourself along that path.
Community Choirs If you’re an experienced choral singer, you might want to seek out a community choir. Auditioned groups include the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, all of which focus on classical choral repertoire. For a change of pace, check out El Coro Latinoamericano, a group that specializes in repertoire from South America. The North Hills Chorale is a non-auditioned community choir, and the Renaissance City Choirs include LGBTQ-friendly male, female and mixed groups open to all levels of singers, but requiring a placement audition.
Singing for a Purpose If you’re interested in using your voice for a purpose, check out the Pittsburgh Threshold Choir (women only) and the Pittsburgh Men’s Threshold Singers (men only). These two groups have a common mission of singing at the bedsides of people who are very ill or dying, primarily hospice patients. All skill levels are welcome, and no auditions are required.
If you’re interested in taking singing lessons in Pittsburgh, then these are just a few of the local opportunities open to you where you can practice your singing skills! So, take your voice out for an adventure and make music with some new friends!