Voices of Kentuckiana

VOICE of the Week – Rainbow Wills

Rainbow editedMeet our VOICE of the Week, Rainbow! Rainbow’s been singing with us since 2006, and we just love her positive outlook on life and passion for music! We took a few moments to get to know her a little better, and we can’t wait to share our conversation with you!

Rainbow got involved with VOICES when a non-singing member took notice of her love of music. “I hadn’t sung for almost a decade,” says Rainbow, “and I didn’t realize how badly I needed that back in my life. VOICES has given me so many opportunities to express myself through performance, and I’m grateful for the growth I’ve experienced in the last eight years!” We’ve been so grateful for Rainbow’s involvement, as she’s a constant advocate for social change and community.

“I really admire Mary Spencer for her talent and vocal ability, section leadership, positive outlook on challenges, and her relationship with her son,” says Rainbow. “She always has a smile, is prepared to help, and is a great role model for the younger generation––and me!” Relationships like these make community building and social outreach a joy, and make stepping out on stage to entertain audiences that much easier!

So what is Rainbow’s favorite memory of her time so far with VOICES? “I love performing Ella’s Song with Inner VOICES at home and at the 2012 GALA in Denver, Colorado,” Rainbows says. Those were meaningful moments for us as well! If you don’t know Rainbow yet, why not take some time to get to know her at this weekend’s rehearsal?

 

 

Fresh VOICES of Kentuckiana

chorus-baLast weekend we had a chance to catch up with a few of our Fresh VOICES, singers who are brand new to VOICES of Kentuckiana or are returning this semester after a hiatus. We had a great time getting to know these wonderful folks, and can’t wait to share the stage with them in December for our winter program, Holiday Magic!

 First up was Thomas Edison (really his name!) who comes to us from Baltimore. Thomas has been singing for thirty years, but his upcoming performance in Holiday Magic will be his first time performing with a group. After hearing about VOICES from a friend with the Baltimore Men’s Chorus, Thomas decided to join VOICES when he moved to Louisville because he wanted to meet like-minded people with a passion for music and the arts. “I’m happiest when I’m able to express myself creatively,” says Thomas. “But my number one goal with VOICES is to become a visible example of the power of LGBTQ groups to touch people’s hearts.”

 Next we met Autumn Norwood, whose family swears she’s been singing since she could make noises. Autumn began singing with a group back in middle school, and with encouragement from friends and family decided to join VOICES because she wanted to sing in a chorus again. “This seemed like the right group, very welcoming and encouraging,” says Autumn. When she’s not singing, Autumn enjoys a good book and says she’s inspired to sing by the people around her. “I’m really looking forward to the overall experience,” says Autumn. Holiday Magic will be Autumn’s first time performing with a group since high school, and we can’t wait to join her on stage! gdl-voices

 Finally we caught up with Morgan Houlette, a veteran of choral singing and welcome addition to the VOICES family! “A good friend of mine, Lorna, encouraged me to start singing again,” says Morgan. “She thought that joining VOICES would be a great idea!” Morgan loves Christmas music and can’t wait to share some of her favorite tunes with audiences for our winter program. “I’m excited for new, unique music as well,” she says. Many people have inspired Morgan to pursue singing. “My old chorus teacher, and my mom and dad are among the biggest inspirations,” Morgan says. “Most recently, my girlfriend inspired me to sing. She always supports me and encourages me to sing. She knows how much I truly love it.”

Make plans now to attend Holiday Magic on December 6 and 7 at the Clifton Center Eifler Theatre! More information and tickets available here.

VOICE of the Week – Deena Grimm

april-phto-shootWe hope you’ll join us in congratulating this week’s VOICE of the Week, Deena Grimm! Deena’s been with VOICES for 5 semesters now, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s found her musical home and family with us! Let’s get to know Deena a little better!

What is your occupation or how do you occupy your days, usually?

I am a Correctional Unit Administrator at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley.  Basically that means I am an assistant Unit Director, with authority over 1 housing unit.  So I spend my days overseeing a housing unit of up to 78 women, with one wing of serious/long-term medical inmates, 1 wing of contract inmates from county jails (usually sent to us because they’re pregnant and the jail can’t take care of their medical needs while they are pending trial), one wing of serious mental-health inmates who can’t be housed in general population (temporary or long-term), one wing that is a program for teaching the inmates to manage their mental illness, and one wing that is mental-health transition to the general population.

Outside of that, I am an avid reader, and student of natural horsemanship, which means I spend a lot of horse-time doing things that regular horse people think is stupid, crazy, or pointless, but is extremely rewarding.  I enjoy spending as much time as I can manage playing with my horses, but that’s been not nearly enough time lately.

In one sentence, let us know what VOICES means to you.

A musical home; this is the first singing group I’ve joined that I’ve stayed with for more than 2 years, because it is just a perfect fit.

We all know you love to sing but what is your hidden talent? 

My husband calls me the “pack-mistress” because I can generally get a ridiculous amount of stuff packed in a vehicle for a trip, and leave comfortable room for all the travelers as well.

Tell us about a favorite moment from a VOICES concert or event?

Creating a video of “Lean on Me” for the It Gets Better Project.  I still get a little choked up when I watch what we created and think about what it means….

What’s the best song you’ve performed with VOICES and why?

Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen.  It’s not necessarily the highest quality or most beautiful piece we’ve done, but it was the first piece I picked up on my first day with the group.  Not some boring old classical thing that every chorus sings, but something that out there and cool.  I knew right then I was going to love this group!

What’s the best piece of singing advice you’ve ever received?

Be confident – sing out like you are dead certain you’re going to get those notes; often you are right on it even when you’re worried you won’t get it.

 

VOICE of the Week – Gregory L. Sopko

greg-sopkoGet to know another long-term VOICES member, Gregory L. Sopko, this week! Gregory has been singing with VOICES since January of 1996, and we’re so grateful to have him as part of our community!
Tell us your name. Gregory L Sopko
What is your occupation or how do you occupy your days, usually?  I’m a clerk at Kroger, in a different department each day. I’m all over the store!
In one sentence, let us know what VOICES means to you.  VOICES, and this wonderful community of singers, has helped me over the years to become more  comfortable with who I am.
What prompted you to become a member of VOICES?  I was just really coming out as being gay in 1996, and wanted to becoming part of a community. When I moved to Louisville a friend told me to look for an activity or organization in the gay community that I would enjoy. The rest is history!
What has been your favorite VOICES concert or event?  My first GALA in San Jose, CA.
What do you hope to see for VOICES in the future?   I hope we continue to grow, become even more diverse, and touch many more peoples’ lives.
What would you tell young people who are looking for ways to get involved in their community?   Just do it. It may take you a while to find the right organization or group, but even if your first experiences don’t work out, you will be  glad you tried and wonder how your life could have been complete without it!

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