SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — While many organizations are taking a hiatus during the pandemic, one local community group is still meeting its mission.
RISE Chorales, a Savannah-based choral organization, is still singing, socializing and serving their hometown, but doing it all digitally.
Their virtual model and collaborations are getting recognition from chorus groups across the nation as a way to keep communities together during this time.
RISE Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Emily Williams Burch says by continuing to educate young people in music literacy, they foster deeper relationships to give back to the community through service.
“During this time of the pandemic, the music still must go on and people need a place for community and positivity,” Burch said.
“RISE is fortunate that we already had a number of tools built prior to the pandemic, and as we have stayed on top of the research and explored more options this summer, our model has actually garnered national attention,” she added.
Burch says her goal is to build knowledgeable, innovative and strong leaders in the community by providing a place for singers to develop and enhance their musical talent and establish and nurture relationships.
“We even built the infrastructure to support expanding and offer choirs for more young people, if our community needs it,” she said. “Young people need a voice, a place to sing but also speak and be heard.”
With a mission of “sing, socialize and serve”, RISE Chorales hosts a 6-12 grade Young Women’s Chorale but is open to forming new chorales based on community needs.
This season, the chorus will have weekly virtual rehearsals, one-on-one times with directors and vocal coaches, lessons in music history and theory, a monthly collaboration with a choir from Appleton, Wisconsin, monthly virtual hang-outs for the members, and even a monthly parent support group so the families have a community as well.
“We can build a community behind a computer screen together and still feel like we’re part of a bigger something,” Burch said.