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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tunes in Town: Williamsburg A Cappella Singers

The Williamsburg A Cappella Singers are all about family (Williamsburg A Cappella Singers)

WILLIAMSBURG — “Tunes in Town” is an occasional series that catches up with some of the local musical talents that call Hampton Roads home.

Under the direction of Patty Leveille, who previously directed a men’s chorus in Norfolk and a women’s chorus in Newport News, the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers has grown substantially over the last year.

After a stint in Nashville, Leveille returned to the Williamsburg area, and soon people in the community asked if she would start her choral groups again. That’s when the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers was born.

“Some of the women who had been in the Newport News-based chorus asked me if I was going to start another chorus. I told them that I loved barbershop style and I wanted to do other styles as well. Those ladies had agreed since all they wanted to do was sing,” Leveille said.

Scherry Barra, one of the original members of the group, helped Leveille get things started.

The A Cappella Singers perform during the 2021 holiday season (Williamsburg A Cappella Singers)

“There is something about a cappella singing and the music that you really can’t get anywhere else. I was part of a quintet and we would do some stuff here and there. I ran into Patty’s sister-in-law and asked about how she was doing. I was told that she had just moved back from Nashville and was thinking about doing a singing group. I left her a voicemail that basically said ‘I heard about what you were thinking of doing and I’m in,'” Barra said.

In 2018, the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers had its first performance. With 20 members at that time, the singers performed at various Christmas events, retirement homes, and community events.

“I was lucky enough to have some good singers and it really picked up,” Leveille said.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, the group attempted rehearsals via Zoom but eventually threw in the towel on virtual rehearsals. Now, post-pandemic, Leveille has seen the group almost double in size.

“The friends that we make and we have people in the group who come from all different walks of life, but what brings them together is the harmony and the love of music,” Leveille said.

The Williamsburg A Cappella Singers rehearse once a week at the King of Glory Lutheran Church on Monday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. The group sings a mixture of music from classic Broadway to the Eagles, Billy Joel, and more. Any adult can audition.

David Fazzone, one of the oldest members of the group, had always dreamt of singing barbershop music. After attending a rehearsal, he was all-in.

“I always wanted to sing barbershop and over the years I never had the time. I kept putting it off and a friend of mine had invited me to come out to a Williamsburg A Cappella Singers rehearsal. Once I got in here, I got so absorbed into the group. These people become a brother and sisterhood that you don’t usually find. Our harmonies are so close and we depend on each other all the time,” Fazzone said.

A Williamsburg A Cappella Singers performance in Yorktown (Williamsburg A Cappella Singers)

The Williamsburg A Cappella Singers perform at various events throughout the year. Coming up, the public is invited to attend a free Williamsburg A Cappella Singers concert at the Williamsburg Regional Library on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. Doors open at 2:30.

Chris Becke, a new member of the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers who has performed once with the group, said he is looking forward to the library show.

“It’s been a great experience being part of this choir. We have tight harmonies and we sing fun songs with a great variety of music. I can’t wait to be performing it at the library,” Becke said.

For Leveille, she has hopes that the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers will continue to grow and eventually become the premier A Cappella group in the Williamsburg area.

“Our vision is to be Williamsburg’s premier a cappella organization for men and women. We want to provide a platform in which men and women can develop their skills in a cappella harmony and through performances we want to enrich the lives of the Williamsburg community,” Leveille said.

For more information on the Williamsburg A Cappella Singers, visit williamsburgacappella.org.

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