It doesn’t matter what notes you can hit or whether you know all the words. The Williamsburg Community Sing fosters a sense of community through a night of song open to all ages and skill levels. The first such event of the fall kicked off Thursday evening at Laurel Lane Elementary School.
“Our whole aim is to get people to feel the powerful spirit of community that comes from making music together,” said Helen McClain, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher at the school. “We don't have concerts. No one needs to feel any pressure to perform. We just like to sing for the joy of it.”
It’s not about talent or competition. Instead, it’s a whirlwind of smiles and laughs amidst the tunes. The songs, usually taken from a book featuring more than 1,200, span country, gospel, musicals, the Beatles and more. Thursday night featured “The Sound of Music,” “Buffalo Gals,” “Wade in the Water” and several others.
“A lot of them we know and a lot of them we don’t know,” said attendee Jan Stone. “It’s just an opportunity to get together and sing.”
McClain started the sing during the previous school year. After taking a couple of months off during the summer, her plan is to continue it on the second Thursday of every month. She said about 10-20 people typically turn out, but she hopes the event will continue to grow as the group welcomes anyone interested, old and young alike.
“Personally, I'd love to see the whole room so filled with people that we would have to move to the gymnasium,” she said.
Everyone goes with the flow, figuring out who will sing what parts, whether to add a dash of piano in the background and how much of a song they feel like singing as they go along. Many of the songs are a capella. Sometimes, people bring along instruments, such as Jane Ferguson with her guitar Thursday evening.
“It’s a chance to do something I love with other people who love the same thing,” Ferguson said. “It’s open and friendly. I’ve met a lot of great people and I always have a great time.”
Want to go?
The next Williamsburg Community Sing takes place from 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Laurel Lane Elementary School, 112 Laurel Lane. It is free and open to the public.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.