‘My aim for the Capital City Singers of Trenton has always been to serve the city, to ensure that this wonderful, historic city receives its due,” says Richard M. Loatman, founding artistic director and principal conductor of the choir.
Since 2005 the singers have performed at annual winter and spring concerts, at the 2008 dedication of the WWII Memorial; the 2011 Delaware Valley premier performance of “Stabat Mater” by Karl Jenkins with Sinfonietta Nova, the community orchestra of West Windsor; and have performed at several events for the Church of the Sacred Heart; the City Museum at Ellarslie; the William Trent House; the Princeton Abbey, and other venues.
The choir admits new members every September and January, and has welcomed eight new singers this month. The next opportunity to join is Sunday, September 24, when the choir meets for practice. Those interested are not required to audition but should have a sincere desire to sing in the chorus and to attend rehearsals twice a month.
The choir’s next big event, “Winter Songs Concert XI” on Sunday, December 10, at the Sacred Heart Church, celebrates Chanukah and Christmas. The program will be conducted by Loatman, assistant conductor Ellen Dondero, and incoming conductor Vinroy Brown Jr., who will conduct the chorale.
In January, Brown will take on the role of principal conductor, and Loatman will serve as the choir’s executive director while continuing to write music for the group.
“Vinroy has connections with a wide variety of performing groups, including the Westminster Jubilee Singers, the Trenton Children’s Chorus in the city, and others. His experience will help us to attract and serve an audience that truly reflects the diversity of Trenton,” Loatman says.
The chorus comprises a wide range of singers, from those who have no or little musical experience to those who have more than one degree in music. “That’s my challenge, and that’s my forte,” Loatman laughs, “bringing together people from various backgrounds, and making it work. I seek to find ways to both teach and perform music that takes into consideration both the new and the experienced singer.”
Loatman likes to include a variety of styles in his programs, often introducing his audience to new musical expressions that might be a bit difficult to understand at first. But he also includes music his audience has probably heard before. “I like to offer concerts that have diversity. You might come to the performance not knowing what you’re going to hear, but something will speak to you,” he says.
“Back in 1985, while envisioning what would become the Capital City Singers, I knew I wanted to contribute to Trenton, to create a chorus that would serve the city with both patriotic songs for official occasions, and with jazz, pop, and classical music for regular concerts,” he says. Today Loatman and his partner live in Mill Hill, a short walk to Sacred Heart Church, where the choir now rehearses and performs. “I have always wanted to give my time, skills, energy, and my experience to the city in some way. The chorus has been a way to do that,” he says.
“As an audience member, you can go to Philadelphia, to Princeton, to New York to hear great music. But we want to provide that experience right in our home, right in our midst,” Loatman says. “That was my goal in forming the chorus, and I expect we will continue on that course, and contribute even more as we move forward.”
Capital Singers of Trenton, 609-434-2781. Rehearsals: Sacred Heart Church, 343 South Broad Street. capitalsingers.org.