photo circa 2017 by Karen Arnold
VOICE is a 501(c)(3), volunteer community musical organization that strives to marry the Arts with the art of giving back. We are located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Our benefit concerts, which are performed semi-annually (June and December), are designed to raise both awareness and funds for other local non-profit organizations. 100% of the proceeds raised during our performances go to the selected beneficiary for that performance. You can learn more about being a beneficiary here. But there's more than just monetary logistics...
Performance seasons follow the calendar year, but are divided into semesters: February to June and August to December. Our concerts are themed, memorized, and (lightly) choreographed and staged. Our music spans across genres and themes such as Broadway, Disney, Country, and 'Glee', as well as other chart toppers. Musical experience in the organization ranges from novice to seasoned singers, and music is performed in coed harmonies, ranging from 3-8 parts. Concerts are performed with a minimum 3-piece combo band, that includes keys, guitar/bass, and drums. You can find out more about how to become a part of our musical family here.
history of VOICE
VOICE was founded in 2008, by James D. Kiser, to use a musical concert to raise funds for another local organization. The rest, as they say, is history. And what fun it's been in the making! In the past 15 years, we have supported many wonderful organizations with our performances, with a combined total raised in excess of $75,000 supporting over 20 local non-profits. We have also gotten to know many wonderful musicians, with our group averaging 30-40 singers per concert set. Over the years, our membership has included over 100 individual singers, musicians, and technical supporters!
We are looking forward to many decades full of music and community!
But first, let us celebrate our past...
Our debut performance(s) were held mid May 2008. Those performances included 17 singers, featured the music of Broadway, and raised $1,400 for a local Relay for Life walking team. During 2009 and 2010, VOICE performed three benefit concerts, May, September, and December. A Leadership Team was put into place during the 2010 season in an effort to assist the Director. In 2011, the element of live accompaniment was added, by way of a 7-piece combo band, which included many members of the well-known, local cover band Everyday People. It was in that year that VOICE scaled back to two major benefit concerts annually. This allowed for each set of performances to be a 2-day event, in June and in December.
Beginning in 2012, a second ensemble was added: The Sunday Singers. This ensemble provided music to local area churches upon request—a need that had been present since 2008. VOICE singers had the opportunity to choose participation in either ensemble, or both. The Sunday Singers ensemble averaged 14-20 singers per service and performed in coed harmonies ranging from 3-6 parts. Meanwhile, The Benefit Singers continued to provide their concerts, with the steadfast assistance of Vision of Hope UMC as a rehearsal space.
In 2014 VOICE officially obtained our 501(c)(3) status. That exciting news raised the roof on the possibilities of growth as well as outreach. In 2016 The Sunday Singers disbanded with the caveat to reorganize if needs resurfaced. In 2015, the Leadership Team chose to expand into more of an administrative role, governing areas such as the annual budget, promotional output, and rehearsal records.
In March 2020, VOICE had to suspend all activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We continued to share community with singers through online gatherings and moved to outdoor gatherings when that was safe. However, with singing classified as a super-spread activity, we remained on hiatus until it was safe to proceed singing together in January 2022. We resumed with vaccinated members holding masked rehearsals and hoped it would be safe enough to have a mask-free concert in June. Good news-it was! We continue to follow CDC guidance, and are grateful we are able to gather as musicians again to raise additional funds and awareness for local non-profits and the great work they provide with our 2 annual benefit concerts.
Every semester, VOICE looks forward to seeing new singers and performers, stretching our musicality, supporting new organizations, and most importantly, doing good work right here in our community.
The purpose of VOICE shall be to provide inspirational community enrichment through quality entertainment while raising awareness and financial support for local non-profit organizations