A Panorama of Voices

Austin’s largest non-auditioned choir performs on the Eastside

Words by Jessi Devenyns Photos by Mozart Requiem Undead, Rocking Holiday Extravaganza with The Invincible Czars, Strange In Other Ways, and Arts Advocacy Day Performance at the Texas State Capitol 

On any given Thursday night, you’ll find a hodge-podge group of singers reclining on any available seat in a Westside church basement that serves as rehearsal space. No one has auditioned to be there, but everyone is welcome.

Among the cast of characters are college students who sit humming next to wizened attorneys that make way for a fuchsia-haired woman with a rumbling timber to her voice. A bespeckled man hits a range of falsetto notes that supersede his female neighbor. Scales in different keys create a cacophonous background against which this scene is set.

For 20 years, Panoramic Voices has drawn on the talent of the Austin community to create an eclectic musical experience. From classics like Bach in B Minor to contemporary collaborations with local Austin groups like Quiet Company, this resourceful group pulls the beauty out of any melody they set their vocal chords to. Because they welcome singers of all levels with no audition, the participants in the group bring a wide variety of experience and training which infuses each performance with a unique tone rarely heard in other productions. Of the three annual concerts they give, perhaps their most innovative, if not most popular, is their Indie Orchestra Night.

As 2018 unfurls its scroll of musical opportunities, one show worth watching for is Panoramic Voices’ latest installment of the now-annual tradition of Indie Orchestra Night concerts, where Panoramic Voices singers and orchestra are paired together with rock, country, and hip-hop artists as varied as Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, R.E.M.), The Riverboat Gamblers, Shearwater, Dana Falconberry, Zeale, and Quiet Company. The brainchild of Nathan Felix and Brent Baldwin, this year’s show will be a benefit for HAAM, a local non-profit that provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians.

“This series is all about community,” explained Artistic Director Brent. “I’m elated for us to be partnering with HAAM, which takes this community vibe to a whole new level.”

The concert is slated to be on March 4th at Fair Market. The bill has yet to be released, but it is shaping up to be a well-rounded auditory experience. Baldwin shared that he is still in the process of locking down the last few collaborations with local artists to complete his vision for the show. However, suffice it to say that the interpretations of classic rock and roll songs that are in the works are melodic masterpieces. Baldwin has created choral layers that line up with the precision of a Tetris game while still maintaining the warm rhythmic inexactitudes that we love about rock and roll.

With his lofty artistic vision and the support of several dozen singers of all levels of performance and educational experiences, Indie Orchestra Night is sure to be a musical evening of surprises.

Contact: http://www.panoramicvoices.org/ P.O. Box 28621

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