This Sunday's concert at Long's Park will get a little local flair thanks to a Lancaster choir.
The Music for Everyone Community Chorus will join Portland, Oregon, soul singer Liz Vice for two songs during her performance at Long's Park Sunday. Like all Summer Music Series show, admission is free and the music begins at 7:30 p.m.
Music for Everyone is a Lancaster-based nonprofit with the mission of cultivating the power of music. Its community chorus is open to singers of all ages and levels, and no audition is required to join. The concert with Vice is an addendum on its 2019 season, which typically wraps up in mid-June.
MFE Community Chorus director Jonathan Shoff said the collaboration came after a suggestion from members of the Long's Park Amphitheater Foundation, which produces the concert series.
"They had seen the chorus perform with the Persuasions in Lancaster (in 2015) and thought of it as a possibility for this concert with Liz Vice... They asked her if she was interested and she said it'd be a dream come true," Shoff says.
The choir will join Vice during her songs "Brick by Brick" and "It Was Good." Schoff says Vice's music lended itself to choral arrangement very naturally, describing it as "rhythmically exciting" with "really engaging harmonies."
"We've had a real positive response, and people are excited by the music," Schoff says of his choir members.
Vice says she's especially grateful about the collaboration, because she is a strong believer in communities providing musical opportunities that might not be otherwise available.
"When I was a little girl, I had a mother who worked many jobs to provide the best education for my siblings and I," Vice wrote to LNP in an email. "Anything outside of the music classes that were provided with my education was an extra cost we could not afford. When I was a kid, I’d have my friend’s who taken piano classes come over and stick blue painter’s tape to the keys of a particular song and I would practice for hours and hours."
In her late 20s, she finally acquired a piano of her own which allowed her to finally write her own songs.
"I’m still not the best pianist but I know how music has helped me express certain stories that speaking can’t do," Vice says.
That's why she's especially excited to partner with community organization.
"It is an honor to have members of the MFE Chorus sing along with me," Vice wrote.
Schoff says collaborations like Sunday's are a great illustration of Music for Everyone's larger mission.
"I think the most important thing is it shows music as a community-building tool, if not just something that people on the stage do," Schoff says. "It's something that at some level everyone can be apart of and engaged with."