Women’s chorus finds inspiration at music festival

Members of Bread & Roses, the DeKalb area women’s chorus celebrating its 20th year of community involvement and love of music and singing, participated in this summer’s Sister Singers Network Festival in July in Champaign-Urbana.

Chorus members, including more than 15 women from DeKalb and Sycamore, attended workshops and lessons and heard other composers, directors and choruses present and perform. The group also performed a concert of music selected from their spring concert program for the more than 400 women in attendance.

Bread & Roses' trip to the festival was supported with donations received during their fall 2013 and spring 2014 concerts.

Peggy Safford of Sycamore has been director of Bread & Roses for 20 years. She said the group participated in a SSN Festival in 2001, and she hopes the current members were inspired by this year’s festival.

“The opportunity to listen to a wide variety of choruses and musical styles all in one place is priceless. We will take note of what other groups are singing, what they are wearing, and how they present themselves," she said. "The workshops offer a mix of topics from self-publishing to using your voice better to how to govern your chorus. We will come away from this experience with a renewed excitement in our own chorus and our own music as well as lots of ideas for new pieces to perform.”

Bread & Roses will perform two concerts in the coming year. The fall concert, to be held Nov. 16, will include seasonal songs and feature guest performer Jen Jencks Conley. Conley is a well-known singer and songwriter whose voice has been described as pure and lyrical. Her music is heartfelt and soulful, and her talents are used for healing and reaching out to others.

The group's spring concert, to be held April 26, will celebrate their 20 years together and will include some of their favorites selected from all the pieces they’ve learned over the years. It will be followed by a reception for their audience, supporters and former members.

Bread & Roses concerts and Sunday evening rehearsals (5:45 to 8 p.m.) are held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 830 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb. Area women who are interested in singing with the group are invited to open rehearsals on Aug. 24 and 31.

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