With musicians from 8 states and the District of Columbia, NAVE is one of the country’s newest choirs.
What brings over 30 people to join together in song? A desire to sing quality choral music with singers who believe in sharing music and words with audiences all over the world, and to revisit their marvelous collegiate choral experiences.
The choir is the brain-child of Dr. Bonnie Borshay Sneed who conducted most of these singers when they were in college. She invited some of her former collegiate singers via Facebook and email to start a reunion choir that would travel all over the world to sing together some of their favorite songs, as well as new ones. What she found was over 70 singers who said a resounding “Let’s do it!” The idea seemed to rekindle in them the joy and passion of singing challenging music, and doing something beyond their everyday lives.
Who are these musicians? The singers in NAVE come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Several are church and school choral conductors, but others include full-time mothers, a NASA engineer, a Medieval philosopher, and PhD post-doc physicist. Other day jobs include: voice teachers, a social worker, an electrical engineer, and a hospital administrator.
Why NAVE? Having sung with Sneed in some of the great cathedrals in Europe, the choir plans on crashing cathedrals in whatever city they visit–hence, their full name “NAVE: We do cathedrals”. It all started in 1997 when many of the NAVE singers were college students on their first European choir tour with Dr. Sneed. During a visit to Salzburg, Austria, they were invited to “sing a few songs” in an impromptu concert in the Cathedral. An audience of tourists stopped, sat down to listen, and enthusiastically responded; before long, the choir was singing many of their pieces. However, in the middle of one piece, the Salzburg choir master walked right up to the conductor and insisted they leave at once. No one had asked him for permission for the choir to sing, so, despite the positive response of those who were listening (including some members of the Cathedral’s choir), they scampered out of the Cathedral quickly. The tradition of Cathedral-crashing was born.
In the hopes of returning to Europe someday, the singers are perfecting their ensemble through performances in Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, New York, and Chicago.
No one is paid, and they all have to pay for their own travel expenses and music. The cathedral concerts are free to all, but an offering will be taken. We need to pay, in the short term, for our recording equipment, our music, and the creation of CDs of our music for purchase. We also need help in setting the stage for a future account to help the younger collegiate singers afford to join NAVE as soon as they are able.
We have several goals, and are so thrilled that there are churches who will allow us to use their beautiful facilities for free. St. Bartholomew’s has been terrific in setting up our first concert. We have performed other church concerts at the Winter Park Presbyterian Church in Orlando and the First United Methodist Church in Dallas, and will soon be booking our Chicago concert for the Summer of 2014. It is encouraging to find musicians in other cities who are excited by our enthusiasm for the choral art, and are willing to give us a place to perform. We will be in Carnegie Hall in January 2014 and also expect to apply for national and international choral conferences in 2014. Then on to venues overseas. To do this, we will need donations, grants, and a lot of friends!
It is the breadth of background and experience from our singers coupled with the desire to perform choral music at the highest level that makes our concerts unique.
Our rehearsals are intense and efficient, but laughter is always a significant part of who we are. And we love to eat out after our concerts!Bonnie Sneed