Way better than a radio

One more reason to put off heading home early

With Christmas on the brain and already on the radio, Ferris and Big Rapids residents alike have the opportunity to attend a live concert to get their holiday cheer.

With a group of 45 singers, Voca Lyrica is an all-women’s choir dedicated to showcasing local talent as well as bringing holiday cheer in their upcoming concert.

“The rehearsals are rewarding and there’s a strong sense of sisterhood and community in the group, which is very valuable to me. We work very well together and also have a lot of fun,” Ferris master of social work first year Emily Garlick said.

Though this is not a Ferris-affiliated choir, Garlick has been a part of Voca Lyrica for the past seven years, allowing her to use singing for self-care, mentally and emotionally.

“I’m very excited about the upcoming concert. It’s a great way to start the Christmas season. The positive energy I gain from performing inspires me to finish the semester on a high note and launches me into the joy of Christmas,” Garlick said.

Garlick’s favorite piece they will be singing is called “Peace on Earth” because of the message it sends its listeners to make a positive impact on the world. Some other pieces that will be sung include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night” and Voca Lyrica alto Kris Kirchhoff’s favorite piece “Up Above My Head.”

Being her third year in this close-knit choir, Kirchhoff commutes 35 miles to and from rehearsals. Though the drive may seem long, Kirchhoff is rewarded by not only rehearsing the pieces so they are performance-ready but by bonding with her “singing sisters” through past experiences and emotions that they can then turn around and show in their performance.

“There is a lot of singing obviously, a lot of laughter, a lot of vulnerability letting, a lot of sharing,” founding artistic director Ginny Kerwin said.

Kerwin has been directing Voca Lyrica for 17 seasons and found that, even though Voca Lyrica has had the opportunity to sing around the world, that her favorite audience will always be right here in Big Rapids.

“I adore directing this choir, not only because we create beautiful music together but because the singers are such amazing human beings who care as much about the music making as they do one another,” Kerwin said.

With a goal of featuring other musical groups in their concerts, the upcoming holiday concert will also feature the Treblemakers Youth Choir, a choir sponsored by Voca Lyrica, as well as the Con Brio Voce Brass Ensemble and local singer Andy Kirby.

The Voca Lyrica holiday concert will take place Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Big Rapids High School auditorium. 

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