Ask Andy Freedman to highlight one of her experiences with WomenSing, and she immediately remembers Montserrat monastery near Barcelona. “We did an impromptu performance of Amazing Grace there,” she recalls. “People were leaving after Mass, but when we started singing, they returned to their seats, listened, and applauded when we finished. It still gives me chills when I think about it.”
Andy and Laura FreedmanAndy joined WomenSing in 1996 as a second soprano. Then, in 2009, she told her daughter that chorus director Martin Benvenuto had invited nonmember singers to join the chorus to sing Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of the Carols. Having graduated in 2005 from the University of the Pacific with a degree in vocal music, Laura took the opportunity to sing first soprano. After that concert, she realized she had been away from music for “far too long” and decided she wanted to join WomenSing.
What is it like for Andy to sing in a chorus with her daughter? “As she is always in the front row, I can usually see her when we perform,” says Andy. “It makes me really proud that she can use her voice to enhance the choir’s sound. I was an especially proud mummy when she had a solo in one of our concerts.”
What is it like for Laura to be in WomenSing with her mom? “It’s great to be in a chorus with my mother. We live in different cities, so it’s nice to get to see her at rehearsals.” The WomenSing 2012 trip to Washington, D.C., was especially meaningful for Laura. “I was able to perform great music in amazing locations, visit Washington, D.C., and its great museums and monuments, all with my mother. We roomed together, performed together, and saw the sights together. I look back at that trip with very fond memories.”
Backstage, WomenSing benefits from the dedication of both mother and daughter. Andy has served as Soprano 2 section leader, board member, president, and chair of the search committee for WomenSing’s artistic director. Now she serves as librarian, keeping track of the chorus’s many musical scores. Like mother, like daughter, Laura serves behind the scenes as Soprano 1 administrative section leader and as a member of the Auction Management Committee.
Laura’s older sister Ceri serves as front house manager for the group. “Anywhere the chorus is, Laura, Ceri and Andy are always there,” says Laura. “We each have separate lives, but WomenSing is a constant that brings us together. WomenSing is definitely a family affair.”