Debbie Resslar is looking for singers to join the New Alexandria Community Choir.
“We have a place for all levels of musicianship, singing as a part of the choir as well as soloists spots and featured descant singers,” she said.
No auditions are needed. Anyone who likes to sing can contact her for details about the choir’s first meeting on Sunday at the New Alexandria United Methodist Church. The choir was temporarily suspended during the pandemic and will be resuming for a three-performance season in December. This year’s cantata is “Go Sing It on the Mountain” by Pepper Choplin.
“The choir has been performing since 2009 when it was formed to commemorate New Alexandria’s 175th anniversary,” said Resslar, who lives in town.
She was teaching music at Greater Latrobe School District at the time. The choir was still going strong when she retired in 2013 after 34 years of teaching.
She attributes its continuing success to not only the talent of the singers and the receptive audiences, but also to the friendships that have formed. Members come from the area and beyond, including from Ligonier and Johnstown.
“Through the years we have been blessed to have singers including present high school students, singing friends, family members and past high school acquaintances,” Resslar said. “They have been members from the Westmoreland Choral Society, the St. Vincent Camerata, local theater and many area churches.”
Brenda Trout of Salem Township has been a member since the choir started.
“When you sing with others, it makes you feel good and happy,” she said.
“As you’re singing, your voice becomes not just you, but a harmony of voices that is amazing. You become something bigger than yourself. You’re not just a choir member, but part of a great group of people and friends.”
Lynne Watkins of Derbytown is also a long-time member.
“I got involved from the beginning when I first heard about the choir forming,” she said. “I have always loved to sing and during my high school years I was always in the choir and most musicals.”
The membership is open to singers who are in the seventh grade and above. Hayley Frye of Bovard, now 22, was in the eighth grade when she joined.
“Getting to talk with the members and hearing them share their experiences through their lives was really helpful as I grew up and began making life choices that ultimately impacted where I am now,” she said. “Joining the choir is more than singing Christmas music for an audience. It’s a family who cares for one another. And we have fun together doing something we all enjoy — singing and sharing the word of God.”
Because members invariably have other commitments, they begin learning their parts at home.
“Each member receives a parts listening CD or USB drive for home practice practices,” Resslar said.
That prepares them for when they meet and Resslar pulls them together as a choir.
“We are blessed with an excellent director who has given so much of herself to the effort of having a local choir,” said Nancy Vincze of New Alexandria, whose husband, John, also is a member.
The cantata that they’ll be performing this year is described as a “highly inventive mixture of mountain melodies, folk hymns, spirituals, familiar carols and original music that is sure to surprise and delight.”
Performances are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in the New Alexandria United Methodist Church, then at 11 a.m. the same day at the New Alexandria Community Presbyterian Church. The next day, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, they will be part of the Derry Area Historical Society’s Christmas sing-along at Old Salem Church.
Resslar can be contacted at 724-668-2749.