Paris Community Choir begins its fall 2019 season on Monday, starting rehearsals for this year’s “Songs of the Season,” and new choir director Alaina Logee Downing is planning to lead the group toward a more introspective and thoughtful format.
“We are inundated with pageantry at Christmas,” said Downing. “This year, at the Christmas concert, we will have no orchestra, and we will be doing more a cappella music, not all sacred, but more traditional, more classic. I want the choir to grow together as an ensemble, musically together, and it’s hard to do that if you are making a show out of it.”
Downing, the daughter of Lamar County residents Dick and Janie Logee, was raised with music performance. A graduate of North Lamar High School, she attended Texas Tech University, earning undergraduate and master’s degrees in vocal performance.
Since then, she has sung with Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera and New York Lyric Opera. She recently returned from a stint with the Weimar Lyric Opera Institute in Germany. Only recently married, she and her husband, Jeff, decided to trade New York City for Northeast Texas.
“I’ve been in dozens of choirs,” said Downing, “and amateur or community singers are capable of learning.
“I’ve chosen a wide range of songs to begin rehearsals, things I think will be appropriate and enjoyable not just for the singer, but the audience as well. I want the choir to grow ... learning how to do it together, and I want to encourage new members to join us.”
Downing said she has been visiting area high schools, encouraging choir students to take part in a new program that would pay a small stipend to a limited number of students to sing in the choir.
“This will help students to know that there is money to be made in singing,” said Downing. “It will offer them an opportunity to be leaders in the field and to learn from older singers and to make contacts in the community. It’s a whole world of benefits on both sides.”
Paris Community Choir meets at 6 p.m. Mondays at First Christian Church, 780 20th St. NE, and is still accepted new members who love to sing. No auditions or prior choir experience is required. A small fee is collected from members to help cover the cost of publicity and copies of the music.
Anyone with questions about joining the choir may email the theatre at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Paris Community Choir Facebook page.