Everett woman’s new choir seeks harmony in community

  • By Sharon Wootton / Special to The Herald
  • Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Some folks, when faced with not finding what they want, give up. That’s not Pam Gerke’s style.

She hadn’t found the choir she wanted to join so she decided to start one.

“It’s a choir to bring the community together to sing for fun, to just be a family choir,” Gerke said.

Welcome to the Everett Community Choir Overtones. Its initials are ECCO; ecco is an Italian musical term meaning echo, a reflection of tones, Gerke said.

“Overtones are the harmonic tones generated whenever a note is sounded, so it’s a metaphor for the harmonies we are in when we sing about the things that we love, together,” she said.

Gerke moved to Everett 2 years ago and hadn’t found her place.

“I was looking for ways to come together with people in Everett and feel like a part of the Everett community.”

For Gerke, starting a choir played to her strength.

She’s the conductor of the Sacred Fire Choir in Seattle, and former conductor of the Seattle Women’s Ensemble, the Seattle Peace Chorus, and church choirs.

Gerke also is a composer, arranger and playwright; author of several books in the field of children’s theater; and an arts specialist at Lakewood Elementary School.

“I decided to go with a choir that will be taught entire by rote, by ear, to make it highly inclusive of people.

“Many people don’t read music or they feel intimidated by the prospect of reading music. (We’ll sing) songs that are not super simple but songs that can be picked up by ear, and songs that we can sing in parts, in harmonies, in rounds,” Gerke said.

“Mostly it will be joyful, celebratory music from around the world, including our own, and sometimes in different languages. It will be fun to celebrate life in so many ways.

“We’ll sing about the commonality we have around the world … instead of the differences.”

The only requirement for the choir is that singers be at least 10 years old.

“Auditions frighten people and I want to give people a chance to sing … including young people. I want to make it an opportunity for families, for adolescents to do something with their parents or siblings that’s a family activity,” Gerke said.

Besides being fun, singing is also healthy, she said.

“Singing literally changes the molecules of your body. It makes you feel good and it’s really healthy and it’s fun,” she said.

“There are so few opportunities, especially for adults, to sing and we lose that joy. It’s an emotional release and literally a physiological release that feels so good. And it brings people together.”

Pam Gerke, who is starting the Everett Community Choir Overtones (Ecco), conducted the Sacred Fire Choir in a February performance in Seattle.

Everett Community Choir Overtones

When: 7-9 p.m. Mondays in eight-week quarterly sessions. Spring session, March 21-May 16; summer session, June 20-Aug. 15.

Where: Everett Senior Center, 3025 Lombard.

Register: Everett Parks and Recreation, 425-257-8300.

Cost: $85 per quarter, $75 for ages 10-17.

Everett Community Choir Overtones

When: 7-9 p.m. Mondays in eight-week quarterly sessions. Spring session, March 21-May 16; summer session, June 20-Aug. 15.

Where: Everett Senior Center, 3025 Lombard.

Register: Everett Parks and Recreation, 425-257-8300.

Cost: $85 per quarter, $75 for ages 10-17.

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