Family Affair: Behind the Scenes at San Juan Singers

A Scripted Freelance Writer Writing Sample

Tired of Try a singing group instead. At least, singing was the path to true love for Judy and Denny Holm, married 52 years. They met while auditioning for a musical in college and have been singing together ever since, most recently with the San Juan Singers. "Singing has always been the basis of our marriage," says Judy with the secret smile she wears when talking about her husband. San Juan Singers rehearsals are almost akin to date night, to hear Madelyn and Dennis Busse talk. "Driving home, we are likely to discuss anything," says Madelyn, "from which music we most enjoy, to the beauty of the stars and moon, to news we've picked up from our fellow singers." The Busses have participated in 11 concerts together. Lest anyone think San Juan Singers rehearsals are only a place for lovebirds or, ahem, "singin' singles," there's plenty of salt and vinegar to spice up the group as well. Case in point, Patty Bair who sings in the group with her sister, Jacque. The sisters find the group a welcome opportunity to get out and about and see each other. Several moms have found San Juan Singers a good place to spend time with their teenage daughters. Penelope Haskew and her daughter Chiara, Amy Hull and daughter Macalister, Trudy and Joely Loucks, and Jill and Lucy Urbach have all participated in SJS concerts together. While the Urbachs enjoy the music and challenge of singing in a top-notch choir, Lucy appreciates that the shared experience "gives us more to talk about." Surprisingly (given that several of her friends are in the choir), when asked what she likes best about the Singers, Lucy replies, "Getting to talk [with mom] in the car rides." Any parent of a teen knows how valuable that time can be. One of the things Jill likes best is watching other interested adults interact with her daughter and support her. "Director Angel Michaels is a knowledgeable and positive mentor," Urbach says. "Other adults in the choir set the example of commitment and focus for something they do purely for the joy of it." Weekly San Juan Singers rehearsals are a bit like a big family reunion. You may not know everyone there, but you're drawn together by a shared sense of community and purpose. What could be better than that? The San Juan Singers' spring concert, "America the Beautiful," is Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. at the San Juan Community Theatre. Tickets: $16 adults, $8 students, available online,, or SJCT box office, 378-3210.

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