Let’s Sing!

We need more song and dance in our lives. How can we do that? Well, North Hollywood is filled with dance studios and folks making and recording music. But what if you want to get out, meet new people and just sing? Now’s your chance to sing!

Join the Valley Villager’s Choir!

First rehearsal:

Saturday, April 6 from 3-5PM

How to join?

Drop co-artistic director Jeff Rizzo an email: andristrizzo@aol.com  

How did this idea come about to create Valley Villager’s Choir?

My partner, Jeff Rizzo, and I have worked in the musical theater world for several decades, and he still does. I gave up my career to care for my elderly mom and disabled sister who both died from medical errors. I now volunteer full time as a patient safety advocate, which can get pretty depressing. I really miss the entertainment business and even though I worked on the technical end, I’ve always loved singing. I thought it would be a great idea to gather other people in the area and form a choir, just for the fun of it. We’ve also always wanted to have a Holiday Block Party and it actually came to be this past Christmas so we were able to combine the two efforts, and the choir had their first concert for our neighborhood right before Christmas. Actress JoAnne Worley came over and sang “We Need A Little Christmas” with the choir.

What’s your and the other artistic directors background?

See above for me. Jeff Rizzo has worked as a musical director/conductor/composer ever since he was a little kid. He’s traveled the country doing musicals and even went to China to do “42nd Street.” Connie Woodson is an awesome singer and choir director who has performed all over the Los Angeles area. She used to sing at the very popular Maldonado’s supper club in Pasadena and currently directs several other choirs in the southland. 

What’s the criteria to join?

Age, location, ability to not sound like a crying car, etc.? Right now our criteria is 1) You have to love to sing, 2) You need to be comfortable singing harmony parts 3) you need to commit to being at as many rehearsals as you can and 4) make time to practice your music at home, as we only have 2 hours a week to rehearse together. We don’t really have an age limit right now and would love to have some young people join us as long as they are adept at singing harmonies. Right now we’re rehearsing in our living room, but if we get much bigger we’re going to need a new rehearsal space. If this takes off and we have enough people to really make a go of this, we’d like to get our nonprofit status and really go legit. So right now, everyone just volunteers their time, and everyone pitches in to cover any costs. I hate to discourage any “crying car” singers, but people need to realize that when you’re singing tight harmonies with others in close proximity, you need to sound good and be on pitch. When and if we become a legit choir, we might need to start auditioning singers.

What’s the rehearsal schedule like and where?

We will be rehearsing every Saturday from 3-5 in Valley Village (until we get a better rehearsal space). If anyone has a free rehearsal space, let us know!

Valley Villagers Choir via www.nohoartsdistrict.com

Where will you perform?

So as I mentioned, our first concert was this past December at the very first Valley Village Holiday Block Party. We don’t have anything else scheduled at the moment as we want to make sure we get a good group together and sound good. We hope that we’ll be able to eventually perform for all of the local Neighborhood council events, possibly local church functions, etc. We’d even be open to learning special material for private functions.

Is there something you’d like to highlight?

We really want to encourage people to take some time for themselves in this hectically paced and often hateful world, and there’s few things more relaxing and enjoyable than singing and music. The Valley is full of people working in the entertainment industry, so we know there’s people out there who would benefit from something like this. OK, it’s not a paying job, but it’s so rewarding to learn the harmonies and hear them blend so beautifully, and then see people enjoy the performance. We know so few people in our neighborhood, and ever since we started this up this past fall, it’s been great to meet neighbors we never would have met otherwise. Our next-door neighbors, Tom and Judy Urich are veteran musical theater performers, both having performed on Broadway…both amazing singers. Tom’s brother was the late actor, Robert Urich. We also have 3 local realtors in our group, so if anyone is looking for a house….

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Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com