In 2016, Allison Beavan took over the Outer Cape Chorale as Music Director, replacing Jon Arterton, who had been the director for its first 14 years. The Chorale is a 120-voice performing group that has traditionally offered concerts in Provincetown and Orleans every May and December, featuring selections from a wide range of musical styles, sung with musical accompaniment. Of course, like many performers, the past two years have ground everything to a halt as far as public performances go. But the Chorale has continued getting together in the safest possible ways and creating music together, if not for audiences, then at least for each other.
Provincetown Magazine: What has Outer Cape Chorale been doing during the pandemic when it wasn’t possible to perform live?
Allison Beavan: We have rehearsed via Zoom. We met very far apart with masks and sang the [John] Rutter Magnificat together outdoors for our own enjoyment. The Chamber Singers rehearsed outdoors, six feet apart with masks.
PM: How difficult has it been for you and the performers to not have a live audience for so long? What do you miss?
AB: Having never experienced not having an audience before, I think we were all shocked to realize how very much we do perform for an audience. Yes, we love to sing for singing’s sake, but we also love to share our love of great choral music. It has been very, very sad for us!
PM: Tell me about the concert program this year. What can we expect from Outer Cape Chorale?
AB: Because we wanted to rehearse safely, we needed to find a space that would accommodate all singers six feet apart, and of course we all needed to sing with masks. An available venue that can hold 120 singers, six feet apart does not exist on the Outer Cape so we divided our big choir into two choirs that would fit in our rehearsal space. We are presenting three choirs at our May concerts. The Chamber Singers, of course, a tenor/bass choir, and a soprano/alto choir. It has actually been fun doing a different type of repertoire and not just the SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) repertoire that we usually do. We are singing a very eclectic mix of pieces – hence the concert title A Musical Mosiac. There will be familiar songs, truly something for everyone!
PM: The Chorale includes people who’ve never sung for an audience before. Can you explain how you work with complete beginners?
AB: I can’t say that we have many in that situation. Most have been choral singers most of their lives, but yes, some have never sung in a choir before, and I would say that at least half of our singers do not read music. The OCC community is an extremely caring and generous community—it is not unusual to see singer helping singer with everything from carpools to reading music to understanding musical terms. The list is endless. I often hear that our new singers feel welcomed and fit right in because our existing members are so wonderful!
PM: What are your hopes for 2022 given all we’ve been through these past couple of years?
AB: We want so desperately to all sing together! All 120 of us—Together!!!!!
The Outer Cape Chorale presents their spring 2022 concert A Musical Mosaic on Friday, May 20, 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 21, 5 p.m. at Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial St. Saturdays’ concert will also be livestreamed on Facebook. The chorale will also perform on Sunday, May 22 at 3 p.m. at Nauset Regional Middle School, 70 Rte. 28 in Orleans. For all live performances, masks are required. The event is free, though a goodwill donation will be taken. For more information visit outercapechorale.org.