Solstice sing-along in Woodstock

(Photo by Nancy Chusid)

It’s that glorious time of the year again. For many, it’s a time of joyful noise. Some find vocal expression by joining in during the audience participation part of a holiday concert, while others gather together and sing carols at home. Public or private, singing songs sacred, secular or traditional, there’s safety in numbers for the faint of heart. For Nancy Chusid and her various choruses, Byrdsong, Astral Alert and MY MOON! it’s a busy season of song, culminating with their upcoming performance, this Friday, December 21, at the Longest Night Concert at St. Gregory’s Church in Woodstock.

Following their popular Sinterklaas appearance in Rhinebeck, Chusid and the gang look forward to what has become a Woodstock tradition. The annual concert is held at various locations, these past three years on the Solstice; St. Gregory’s A-frame church was chosen partially because of the “wonderful Labyrinth they have outside,” according to Chusid. Weather permitting, the evening will conclude with a candlelit sing-along walk outside on the Labyrinth.

A unique aspect of the concert, which often includes special appearances by guest artists, vocalists and storytellers, actually precedes the performance. For the first time, Chusid, having stumbled on the organization One World One Voice, will offer a pre-concert group vocalization event to coincide with a web simulcast featuring live feeds from anchor locations throughout the world, in a rendition of the Yoruban song “Ise Oluwa,” which will be sung by people around the world at 5 p.m. Touted by its organizers to “heal the world through song,” One World One Voice writes that this will be “the largest moment of synchronized song in history.”

Chusid, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, is also an oboist, pianist, recorder player, teacher, conductor, composer and author of a collection of the American Folk Songs for Children series. She graduated from Vassar College, attended the Juilliard School and moved to this area three years ago. Chusid has “played music and sung with people my entire life,” teaching at several institutions including the Dalton School in Manhattan and the Woodstock Day School.

Besides Byrdsong, a women’s chorus; Astral Alert, a children’s chorus; and MY MOON! a group of nine-to-eleven-year-olds who sing, play ukulele, violin, oboe, recorder and pitched percussion, the evening will feature Carey Harrison, a local actor, director, playwright and storyteller.

The event, produced by Chusid and her choruses, is open to the public by donation. Everyone who enjoys sing-alongs is encouraged to attend. If you want to sing, says Chusid, “Bring your voice.” She promises, “Lyrics will be provided.”

Open Singing Event: One World One Voice, 5 p.m., Longest Night Concert, 6:30 p.m., Friday, December 21, by donation, all ages welcome, St. Gregory’s Church, Route 212, Woodstock; https://www.nancysmusicroom.com, https://www.oneearth-onevoice.org.

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