The Magic City Choral Society is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit community-based organization that was founded in October 2006 by Dr. Joseph Paul Dease and a group of community leaders who recognized a need in the Birmingham metropolitan area for a community based choral organization to provide adult continuing choral/music education so that any adult male or female could participate in high quality choral performances without audition. The men’s chorus, which now numbers 90 men, was formed in October 2007, and the women’s chorus, which now numbers 50, was formed in September 2008. Performance through education is our core philosophy. Driving this philosophy is the notion that musical performance is a behavior that can be observed, measures, and therefore, taught.
MCCS facilitates total access to choral performance, choral music education, and adaptive education to the general public without audition or ticket fees/prices. In addition, these founding leaders also wanted to create a community based choral arts organization that would develop new audiences to raise cultural and artistic awareness, model a behavior of service to the community it serves, and seek out collaborations and partnerships that strengthen the entire community. The increase in membership and the increase in our concert attendance is testament that the vision of the founders, just four years ago, was well founded.
An essential aspect of the mission of the Magic City Choral Society is the philosophy of giving back to the community. Our concerts are free and open to the public and the MCCS strives to make its performances accessible to a diverse audience in Birmingham and Central Alabama. Through these efforts, we have removed a major barrier to individuals and families to enjoying an evening of music and song without cost. In addition, the Choral Society has partnered with First Light Women’s and Children’s Shelter to collect much needed breakfast items for the shelter during the 2009-2010 concert season. These items were donated by members of the choruses and concert goers at season concerts. In addition, members hosted a karaoke sing-a-long for First Light residents. For our 2010 Holiday concert, the Magic Choral Society partnered with a local middle school, collecting much needed school supplies and personal items for its students.
In a major leap of faith, in October 2010, the Magic City Choral Society, in partnership with four HIV/AIDS service providers in Birmingham and Western Alabama, initiated the Red Ribbon Gala concert to Reignite the Conversation surrounding HIV/AIDS. The organizations are Birmingham AIDS Outreach, AIDS Alabama, University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) 1917 Clinic and Western Alabama AIDS Outreach.
Current Ensembles and Programs
Woman’s Chorus and Men’s Chorus – these ensembles are open to any adult female or male without audition. They meet for weekly rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday nights from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. August through May. Open enrollment occurs at the beginning of the fall and spring rehearsal sessions. Members of these choruses participate in weekly rehearsal/choral music education where they are taught physically efficient singing behaviors, expressive singing behaviors, ensemble singing behaviors, general performance/production behaviors, and are exposed a wide variety of choral music from various historical periods and musical genres. Results culminate in two major concerts annually, in addition to a benefit concert each year, held in October. In addition, the choruses participate in outreach singing opportunities throughout the year.
Chorale – formed September 15, 2009 as a rapid response ensemble. This ensemble is the only auditioned ensemble in the MCCS. It serves two purposes: allows for male and female members with an advanced musical skill-set more performance opportunities and challenges, and allows the MCCS to respond to performance requests with a minimal rehearsal window.
Music Fundamentals Class – this six-week course is offered twice yearly and is open to any member of the MCCS. Course objectives include: sight-reading rhythm; sight-reading pitches; and basic music literacy skills. This course provides reinforcement of the basic skill-set taught and acquired in weekly rehearsals.
Class Voice – Class voice is taught nine weeks in the fall and nine weeks in the spring every other week prior to each choruses rehearsal from 6:00-6:45. Class objectives exposer singers to the techniques of physically efficient breathing, breath management, onset/attack exercises, sostenuto singing, registration, resonance balance, and addresses vocal issues germane to program being rehearsed.