Singer Profile: Sue Allender

Get to know Sue Allender, who’s been a part of the Hyde Park Encore Chorale since summer ’16. Sue’s daughter, Laura, and our artistic director, Jonathan, were in the Chicago Children’s Choir together 40 years ago. Because Passover starts next week, it’s nice to see what Sue has to say about celebrating the holiday with her family.

When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started?If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in?

We had a great music program in my public elementary school in Detroit. I was in the choir by 6th grade, maybe earlier. And we sang on the radio!

List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel.

I feel connected with others, moved by the music, creatively involved.

In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life?

One thing my family does each year is have a Passover Seder. We include many, many traditional and non-traditional songs…It is a very special experience each year. I get to sing with my grandkids all the time and have taught them many songs.

What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far?

My college choir did some major works and I’ve never forgotten those concerts. But I also have loved singing in my synagogue choir for many years and for a variety of reasons.

What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not?

Playing the French Horn and violin in my high school orchestra–especially learning and performing Brahms’ 4th Symphony as a freshman.

Is there anything on your musical bucket list–an experience you’d like to have in music?

I take it as it comes!

What do you like best about being part of Encore?

I appreciate the standards that are set and the seriousness of our rehearsals. High goals are set for us without being criticized if we don’t quite reach perfection.

What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out?

Just jump in and give it a try. No one will cause you embarrassment and you will have fun meeting new people and learning new music.

What three songs would you want on a desert island?

Wow how can I choose. From my Encore experience so far, I would choose “Va Pensiero,” “S’Wonderful,” and “Haneirot Halalu.”


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