Arts & Leisure
Meet Lucy, the leader of Ladies’ Night Out
MIDDLEBURY — When you’re 65 years old and have been focused on something since you were a teenager, it’s no wonder that “something” turns into more than just a hobby. For Lucy Allen Tenenbaum, that’s music — specifically singing.
And, like so many lucky Vermonters, she’s found a way to turn her passion into a lifetime career.
Locally, Tenenbaum is known as the choir director of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury — a job the Rutland resident took in 2014.
Or perhaps you have a piano, and recognize Tenenbaum’s name because that’s who comes to tune the keys. “Tuning pianos has been my principal income since 1972,” Tenenbaum said in a recent interview. “I’ve been at this for 47 years.”
The early ‘70s is also when Tenenbaum began studying vocal technique seriously. She studied first at Boston University and then a few years later in Freiburg, Germany, at Musik Hochschule.
Later, Tenenbaum earned her Bachelor’s in Music from Skidmore College in 1999 with a focus on vocal performance and choral conducting; and then completed her Master of Music Education Degree in Choral Pedagogy from Kansas University in 2014.
“In the master’s program, we talked a lot about teaching from the podium,” she said. “Some choir directors teach about singing; I run my choir like a voice lesson.”
Giving voice lessons is something she also does privately, and has been teaching at Castleton University for the past 15 years.
After earning her master’s, the job at CVUUS came up and Tenenbaum was selected to lead the member choir.
“What a fabulous job!” Tenenbaum said. “It’s a calm and friendly choir, and I hope we’re getting better and better all the time.”
Tenenbaum is also the choir director of her own community group: Ladies’ Night Out Women’s Chorus. This chorus has been together for about a decade and performs twice a year, in November and early spring.
In fact, you can hear them sing on Saturday, Nov. 16, when the Ladies’ Night Out Chorus will perform at CVUUS at 7:30 p.m. Or if you’re going to be in the Rutland area this weekend, catch them Sunday, Nov. 17, at 3 p.m., at the Rutland First Baptist Church (81 West St.).
The group of 17 women will perform 11 pieces about the transition into autumn, with accompaniment from Vermont Symphony Orchestra harpist Heidi Soons and Middlebury pianist Marci Wheeler. Soprano soloist Angela Champine (who met Tenenbaum when she was a student at Castleton) will join the choir for a special addition to the November concert.
“I am also thrilled to be singing about songs themed during my favorite time of the year,” said Champine, who’s been singing professionally since 2011. “The program is beautifully put together… I am honored to be a part of this longstanding choral group. We don’t just sing with our voices, we sing with our hearts, and for the love of music.”
Theresa Gleason is another member of the Ladies’ Night Out Chorus and echoes Champine’s praise of Tenenbaum’s direction.
“Lucy is very good at picking music that we all love,” said Gleason, a Middlebury resident who’s been singing with CVUUS for “a long time,” and is also a private voice student of Tenenbaum’s. “This concert is a quieter, more contemplative and reflective concert than we’ve had in a while. It’s like the move from autumn to winter — subtle.”
The Ladies’ Night Out Chorus is not just reserved for pros and Tenenbaum’s students; oh no, anyone can join. That is so long as you can keep up.
“It’s a community choir,” Tenenbaum insisted. “All are welcome. There are no auditions and I will lead anyone as long as they want to learn.”
“Lucy is fabulous,” Gleason added. “She has a big personality and a heart to match. Not only is she an incredibly skilled musician, but she also has a good sense of music, and knows how to get us to sound good together… We love her.”
“From grade school through junior and high school, college and adulthood, into older age, every voice has a place, and can be molded into a fine singing instrument,” reads Tenenbaum’s website. And she means it.
Come see for yourself when Tenenbaum and the Ladies’ Night Out Women’s Chorus take over CVUUS on Saturday evening. There is a freewill offering, suggested $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. For more info or to reach Tenenbaum call (802) 342-8348 or email [email protected]
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