The Treble Makers are on a roll
May 26, 2015
For the past three years, the Park City Treble Makers — a 16-voice women’s a cappella choir — has shared its love of music all over Summit and Wasatch counties.
The group performs at senior centers, receptions, fundraisers, and holiday gatherings and other special events.
On Monday, they performed during the Memorial Day presentation at the Park City Cemetery.
On Sunday, May 31, the Treble Makers will present its spring concert at Temple Har Shalom. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.
"Last year we were at the Swaner EcoCenter, but we outgrew the space, so we had to find a bigger place, and that’s why we’re at Temple Har Shalom," said Shelle Jennings, Treble Makers artistic director, who, along with singers Renee Mox Hall and Karen Nielson, spoke with The Park Record last week. "We are so grateful to Swaner, who opened their doors to us last year, and we’re thankful to Temple Har Shalom for opening their doors to us this year."
The performance will feature some Broadway tunes, some madrigal works, pop and folk songs, and a barbershop number, said Jennings, who selected the pieces.
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"I go down to Dave Murray Music and go through music that is three- and four-part women’s a cappella," she said. "First, I look for works with arrangements that will stretch our abilities and secondly, I also look for things that we are somewhat familiar with and have heard."
One of the things Jennings has discovered in the past three years is the quality of the singers.
"[What] I’ve found, is that these ladies are very good musicians and get easily bored, as do I," she said. "So, if we do cookie-cutter works, after the second month of rehearsal, we’re over it."
That’s why she likes finding more challenging selections to perform.
"These works, I’ve garnered, are what we like do best," Jennings said. "That’s not saying we don’t like to perform pretty music, because of course we do."
Nielsen, who has been with the Treble Makers since the beginning, said her vocal abilities have improved more than she ever thought.
"In a group of only 16 singers with no accompaniment, there is no hiding and all the material has to be memorized," she said.
That’s when the magic happens, Jennings said.
"Two or three weeks ago, we were doing a number and all of a sudden, it was as if the fans started going," she said. "At that point, the goose bumps popped out and the tears started running."
In addition, since the Treble Makers are an a cappella group, they can perform in more places than a regular choir.
"We can do that because all we need is Shelle and her pitch pipe," Nielsen said.
"When Ann Collett, who is our founder, had this idea and approached me, that was the whole point," Jennings said. "She was part of the Park City Singers and they couldn’t do some shows because they needed a piano. So, she told me that if we had something that was mobile, we could do more here in Park City."
That’s evident with the group’s performance schedule.
"Christmas is our busiest time and last year, we had seven or eight gigs," Jennings said. "This spring, we’re doing five, including our concert at Temple Har Shalom."
Nielsen not only enjoys performing, but is also amazed at the other talents each woman brings to the group.
"We’re made up of people who are so diverse in their occupations and they each bring in their own gifts," Nielsen said. "We have a couple of educators, flight attendants, lay clergy and grant writers, to name a few. Not only do the singers share their specialties, they’ve all developed deep friendships with each other."
That’s something Hall enjoys as well.
"A lot of us knew one another from other musical groups, but there were others that we didn’t know quite as well, and we have since developed these strong bonds," Hall said. "I think that really lends itself to our musical production. We have developed a trust with one another. It’s interlocking and we all support each other so that everything is covered at any given time."
That has especially helped in times of crises, Jennings said.
"We’ve had people who have lost children and parents," she said. "We’ve had gals whose parents have been diagnosed with illnesses. We’ve had members whose loved ones have been seriously ill."
This is one of the reasons why the Treble Makers’ performances help benefit other local organizations.
Last year, the donations received during the Swaner EcoCenter concert helped benefit the EcoCenter’s educational programs. This year, the donations will be given to Peace House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties.
"They are a special place and what they do touches the lives of many women and children," Jennings said.
Also, since the Treble Makers were recipients of two grants, one from the Park City Sunrise Rotary Club and the other from the Park City Rotary Club, more money will be donated to Peace House.
"Those grants have allowed us to pay the bills we need to pay for venues and for music," Jennings said. "That allows us to give more of the donations we receive to other organizations."
The Park City Treble Makers will perform its annual spring concert at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., on Sunday, May 31, at 4 p.m. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/parkcitytreblemakers.
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