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Choirs to present holiday smorgasbord of song

Director consults at Harvard

Linda Wallace of Sewickley Hills, director of the TriCounty Choir Institute, presented a workshop at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., earlier this year on a “cutting-edge” voice technique used by just two community choirs in the nation.

Her workshop was part of the Estill Voice International Symposium held at the university, where Wallace, who has been using the Estill technique for three years with all three of her choirs, was invited to speak.

As result, she said, Andrew Clark, the university's director of choral music, has expressed an interest in traveling to the area to watch Wallace teach so he can employ the techniques at Harvard. Officials at University of Michigan also want to begin to use them, she said.

“Estill uses techniques grounded in science that makes everyone a singer and enables them to correctly sing musical theater belt, country, jazz, pop as well as traditional opera recipes,” Wallace said.

The worldwide program was established by Jo Estill, originally from the Pittsburgh area.

Wallace has a certificate in figure proficiency in Estill and is working toward her master teacher certification with Kim Steinhouer, Estill Voice International CEO of Mt. Lebanon.

To learn more about Estill, visit

— Joanne Barron

By Joanne Barron
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The TriCounty Choir Institute will perform “Christmas Chorale Buffet” at 3 p.m. Dec. 15 in St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 2230 Rochester Road, Franklin Park.

The program will feature the institute's Village Singers, a choir of all ages, Village Quartet men's group, the Ladies of Note women's group and the Village Octet combined group.

This choral feast will consist of seven courses. The appetizer is an arrangement of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” taken from the chant and “Immanuel.”

The next course of bells will include “Can You Hear The Christmas Bells?” by Joel Raney and Casting Crown's arrangement of “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day.”

The third course celebrating Mary will include the “Renaissance Ave Maria,” by DeVittoria; Amy Grant's “Breath of Heaven”; “Mary, Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene; and from “Songs For A New World,” “The Christmas Lullaby.”

The fourth course will include familiar Christmas songs with a little spice and a touch of jazz, such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; a doo-wop version of “Jingle Bells”; and the Drifters' arrangement of “White Christmas.”

The fifth and main course will focus on the real meaning of Christmas and include Mark Hayes' arrangement of “Silent Night; the gospel number “Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child”; and “Fall On Your Knees,” incorporating “O Holy Night.”

Director Linda Wallace of Sewickley Hills said the concert dessert is tart and saucy, including Mariah Carey's “All I Want For Christmas” and a comical “Twelve Days After Christmas.” A complimentary dessert finale will be Handel's “Hallelujah Chorus.”

The 45-member community choir, chosen by audition, includes singers from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Washington counties. This will be one of 10 concerts given this Christmas season, but the only one in which the audience has the opportunity to hear all of the Christmas choral buffet offerings of the season. Accompanists include Kathy Kelso of the North Hills and Ashley McCullar of Bellevue.

No tickets are needed, but donations will be accepted. A reception will take place after the concert.

For more information, visit, email or call 412-741-3463.

— Submitted information



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