The Tampa Bay area has a new community chorus! The One City Chorus will be making its debut at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum at 2240 9th Ave. South in St. Petersburg on February 19th at 3:00 PM. The concert will be free, but a goodwill collection will be taken to benefit the Museum.
The chorus began rehearsing in October and has grown to about 80 enthusiastic members. The underlying philosophy of the chorus is that singing in a group builds community and leads to better understanding among people – that the world would be a better place if everyone sang. That’s why the chorus has no auditions. It welcomes everyone – experienced and inexperienced singers alike. It rehearses at 7:00 PM on Monday evenings at the Carter Woodson Museum.
Its repertoire features songs with themes of social justice, civil rights, diversity and equality – songs such as “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”, “Hard Times Come Again No More”, “Imagine”, “Peace Salaam Shalom”, “Woke Up This Mornin’ with my Mind Stayed on Freedom”, “Turn this World Around”, “Freedom is Coming “, “We Shall Not Be Moved”, “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Gonna Take Us All” – a powerful song that sums up the mission of the One City Chorus: “Gonna take us all to make a change, take us all to win the peace. We need the Buddhists and the Baptists, the Quakers and the Catholics too, the atheists and the agnostics, Muslims and Jews. We need people of all nations, all colors and all creeds to put an end to war and put an end to greed. We need the immigrants and the unions, the greens and the gays, seniors and soccer Moms for the world to become humane. Gonna take us all to make a change. Gonna take us all.”
The group is led by Jon Arterton who holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and an MFA in Acting from Smith College. He was the founder and musical arranger of The Flirtations, the a cappella singing group seen in the film Philadelphia and on HBO, Good Morning America and MTV. In 2002 he founded and conducted the 150-voice Outer Cape Chorale, a community chorus based in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Since moving to the area last January he has also begun conducting Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota and preparing the 200-voice chorus for the February 11 performance of “Sing Out Tampa Bay” with the Florida Orchestra.