Sweet-voiced Audrey Espey has loved vocal performance since childhood. One night when she was eight years old, she was caroling Hark the Herald Angels Sing around the house and realized that she wanted to learn how to sing. Soon after, she joined the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus and has been a vocal musician ever since.
A young professional fresh out of college, Audrey works as an Associate Media Developer at a Belmont textbook company. She joined WomenSing a year ago and has discovered her joy in being part of a group of women and in making music with the group. “It is especially rewarding since I am one of the youngest singers in the group, and the other women can serve as role models to me,” says Audrey. “I think many people think that young adults don’t want contact with anyone beyond their generation, but I find that connecting with other strong, intelligent women is invaluable.” She appreciates this first time belonging to a choir that is “not full of teenagers or college students,” and has found that “when singers are comfortable with themselves and are there to do something they love, the learning experience becomes more valuable and enjoyable.”
Audrey especially enjoyed WomenSing’s Youth Inspiring Youth workshop earlier this year and was fascinated to hear several composers discuss the process of setting a text to music. “I liked that the choir got to serve as composer Julia Seeholzer’s guinea pig for trying out new ideas,” Audrey says. She also enjoyed the clinicians’ mini symposium about setting a text to music, since “text is what makes singing so unique and enjoyable. Composing with words is a whole art form in itself, so it was interesting to hear about how these composers approached that.”
So far, this talented soprano’s favorite WomenSing piece has been Bright Morning Stars Are Rising. “It’s a beautiful and moving piece and incorporates all that I love about choral singing: intertwining voice parts and beautiful harmonies. Choral singing is so fun because you can make so MUCH sound and it’s interesting and complex sound.” Audrey feels that it is even more enjoyable to sing in choirs than to listen to them. “When you are singing in a choir you are completely enveloped by the sound. Bright Morning Stars is one of those songs that just washes you with sound. I also think the lyrics of the song are very moving and beautiful and hold a particular importance for women. The line ‘Oh, where are our dear mothers?’ never fails to make me cry….It is comforting to think that I am singing this line with other women who are mothers, who have mothers, and who have possibly lost their mothers or grandmothers, and yet we are all still together making music and that the sound is sweet and hopeful.”
Though Audrey can speak eloquently, she keeps her answer brief when asked the reason she is eager to return next semester to WomenSing. She responds simply, “The quality of the music we make.”