Over the past 35 years, Carol Jegen has been involved in just about every aspect of the White Heron Chorale from performer to concert coordinator. She is one of only four members who have been active within the Chorale since its creation in 1978.
“We felt there was a need for adults in the community to participate in a demanding choral ensemble with other like-minded individuals,” Jegen says.
She enjoys the camaraderie and connection that is exclusively for those who participate with a committed singing assemblage.
“People who aren’t involved with music don’t really understand that it is not only fun, but bonding,” says Jegen, who dedicates much of her free time to the Chorale in addition to her full-time job as a music teacher.
The Chorale has provided Jegen with the opportunity to perform with a group, an experience that is becoming more of a rarity in today’s society.
“A lot of people aren’t connected with churches anymore and there isn’t as much group singing,” Jegen says. “But you really get a sense of community [within the Chorale] which is something you don’t get when you’re just doing your own thing or turning on the radio. Too many people think music is something you buy and consume, not something you do.”
The organization has grown to 75 members, from just 24 when it began, and this sense of companionship is what has kept it together.
“As a singer and actress I get many opportunities to perform individually, but I adore choral singing,” Jegen says. “There is a dynamic involvement in choral singing where we breathe as one, we use our own bodies as instruments, we physically resonate together, and with the rise and fall of the musical phrases we are surfing on a physical sound. It is pure joy.”
See Jegen and the rest of the White Heron Chorale signers in action during their 35th Anniversary Celebration Concert on April 6 at Lawrence Memorial Chapel as they welcome many of their former conductors back to the podium for the first time. For tickets, visit whiteheronchorale.org.
—By Sonia Zimmerman