When the Naperville Men’s Glee Club approached their 25th anniversary year, they knew they wanted to do something to give back.
“We’ve always had support of the community and we wanted to have a big project that had a big impact as well a large community involvement,” said Paula Ball, the Executive Director of the Naperville Men’s Glee Club.
That big project was to create a co-ed choir of area residents that have been affected by cancer.
For the past year, the club spread the word to find participants and began rehearsals this past February, forming the Voices of Hope Choir.
The group’s hard work culminated in a recent performance at North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall, featuring the Voices of Hope, the Naperville Men’s Glee Club, and the Young Naperville Singers.
“The singing has come from the heart,” said the President of the Glee Club, John Bodine. “I don’t know if you could see the tears in some people’s eyes when we sang the last songs. And all the glee club guys, they all had watery eyes. It was just fabulous.”
To show the disease’s reach in the community, each performer donned a color representing the cancer that affected them.
“I felt it was important for everyone that was in it, because everyone has their cause and person who is close to them,” said Ball. “And to me it was a way to make the concert very personal.”
Not only did the inspiration come from the music, but also from the fearlessness of the performers.
“I can’t begin to tell you how I felt today when our soloist came out in our spiritual song that had lost her hair,” said a member of the Voices of Hope, Georgia Harle. “I think of what they go through all the pain and uncertainty. To see someone like that person, she’s not afraid to be who she is.”
For many in the audience the performance was personal as well.
“My mother died of brain cancer 23 years ago so it’s still very fresh and it rekindles the memories,” said Greg Ziles, a Wheaton resident. “For all the people who have been affected by cancer it’s an emotional moment.”
And for these 75 singers, a chance to raise their voices and show they aren’t in it alone.
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