When Holland resident Pat Guth put out a call to her community in 2012 to gauge interest in an all-female chorus, she never imagined the unforgettable moments the next seven years would bring.
Not only did 80 women answer Guth’s initial call and become inaugural members of what is now the Bucks County Women’s Chorus, the group quickly gained unprecedented national and international attention.
To date, the BCWC has brought its vocal talents to local venues such as Pennsbury Manor, Pearl S. Buck International, the Bucks County Visitors Center and Peddler’s Village, and abroad to countries including Italy, Hungary, Australia, Finland, Sweden, Turkey and Scandinavia.
The chorus also has a number of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities under its belt, like sharing the stage with Foreigner at Parx Casino in the spring for a performance of the hit “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and gracing the White House’s East Wing for a special holiday concert.
Despite its worldwide notoriety, the chorus, which currently boasts more than 90 members, still considers itself an ordinary hometown choir. While these experiences have been exciting and memorable, Guth said the group isn’t in it for fame and glory. It’s all about coming together and lifting their voices in song, whether it’s for an audience at a local retirement home or an international crowd in an exotic location.
It’s also about the camaraderie of singing together, which is why Guth continues to eagerly welcome new members. As was the case since the choir’s inception, no audition is necessary in order to join.
“I just wanted to create a safe and welcoming place for women of all skill levels to sing together,” Guth said, adding that members hail from all backgrounds and professions. “As a result of that, we have more than 90 women ranging in age from 24-86 and each brings something different to the choir.”
According to Guth, while some of the BCWC singers have previous choir experience, others have never sung in an ensemble prior to joining. She and the other veteran members diligently work to help newcomers get acclimated and become familiar with the dynamics of singing alongside others.
“It’s a warm and welcoming group,” she added. “I don’t allow divas. I won’t stand for that kind of behavior. Because of that, no one is made to feel they are any less skilled than the person beside them, even if they’re new to the whole experience.”
The BCWC typically performs what Guth referred to as “light” repertoire, which includes standards, show tunes, spirituals, pop and an occasional classical piece.
Though practicing is vital for constant improvement, Guth’s goal is to create a sense of community rather than a high-stress atmosphere. Guth proudly stated how the women of the BCWC like to call themselves “singing sisters” because they are so much more than just fellow choir members.
The group enjoys social activities together all year long, such as attending Phillies and Trenton Thunder games, and some opt to participate in international performance tours every other year.
They also partake in regular philanthropic initiatives, with the group donating more than $10,000 to local women and art-based nonprofits since its founding.
Guth explained that these activities bring the group closer together, and that closeness shows during a concert when the women sing as one unit.
The Bucks County Women’s Chorus rehearses on Monday evenings in the auditorium of Twining Village, 280 Middle Holland Road, Holland. The first rehearsal of the new season is on Sept. 9. There is a small fee for participation, music and uniform.
For more information and to register, visit buckscountywomenschorus.com or contact Guth at 215-968-9542. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com