photo circa 2017 by Karen Arnold
The purpose of V.O.I.C.E. shall be to provide inspirational community enrichment through quality entertainment while raising awareness and financial support for local non-profit organizations
In 2008, founder James Kiser called upon some friends to assist on a concert idea with the intent to raise money for a local charity. The debut “cast” consisted of 17 singers and performed in May of that year; raising $1,400.00 for the local American Cancer Society. As they say, “the rest is history.”
In 2014 V.O.I.C.E. obtained their 501c3 status, officially. That exciting news raised the roof on more possibilities of growth as well as outreach. Since 2008, V.O.I.C.E. had already grown into two ensembles, and their benefit concerts have raised funds and awareness in the local community for organizations such as: The American Cancer Society, The Mercy House, The Blue Right Area Food Bank, Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership, August Dog Adoptions, The Collins Center and more. A local organization is chosen, per concert/semester. Funds are then raised at the event by suggested donations and given, 100% percent, back to the supported organization. Organizations must be non-discriminatory in their endeavors and be of a non-profit status. Organizations can contact with their information: Who they are; what they do, and how that impacts our community. V.O.I.C.E. maintains a list of organizations that is voted upon, by its members, at each semester’s kickoff event. All organizations remain on the voting block each semester until they are chosen.
V.O.I.C.E. has also explored musically, since their debut, ranging from Broadway to Disney and Glee to [other] Top Hits of the 20th Century. V.O.I.C.E. performs in coed harmonies ranging from 4 to 8parts and with such talent ranging from novices to seasoned performers. In 2011 V.O.I.C.E. added the element of live accompaniment, with a 7 piece combo band for their summer show of that year; “The music of Glee”. Since then the V.O.I.C.E. benefit concerts have been blessed with talented local, likeminded musicians and have had a consistent 4 piece combo band backing them up. Current members are: Becky Echard (keys), Dan Chehebar (guitar), Chris Seipp (Bass) and Kate Shaw (Drums).
In 2012 V.O.I.C.E. officially solidified a secondary ensemble, loving dubbed “The Sunday Singers” as to continue including the religious musical genre and the occasional invitation from local Churches, to provide service music. The “Benefit Ensemble” and “The Sunday Singers” hold separate rehearsal and performance schedules. The Sunday Singers sing approximately 3 to 5 times per semester. The “Benefit Ensemble” performs two major concerts per year; once in the summer and once in the winter. Both ensembles rehearse weekly, on Sundays from January-June and again August-December.
Membership to V.O.I.C.E. is open and non-auditioned. Rehearsals are a relaxed atmosphere and everyone involved loves the since of family. V.O.I.C.E. is excited about 2015 and all of its possibilities: there already has been a growth in our numbers! The Sunday Singers ensemble is currently 25 singers and the Benefit Ensemble is currently 29 singers.