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Concerts

Wheaton chorus Beyond Glee to perform American classics

Sue Miller (left) of Glen Ellyn and Tricia Swanstrom of Wheaton practice April 6 with the Beyond Glee community chorus in Wheaton.
Sue Miller (left) of Glen Ellyn and Tricia Swanstrom of Wheaton practice April 6 with the Beyond Glee community chorus in Wheaton.

WHEATON – Sarah Keysor joined the Beyond Glee community chorus a few years ago because she was looking for an outlet where she could continue singing.

"I grew up singing and dancing and doing community theater shows,"the 36-year-old Aurora resident said during a recent rehearsal at the Mary Lubko Center for an upcoming show. "Working full-time doing community theater shows just got to be a little time-consuming, so I was looking for something where I could still sing on a routine basis and still be musical while working full-time."

The Wheaton Park District adult community chorus, which is finishing its fifth season, will perform its show American Classics at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at the Wheaton Park District Community Center, 1777 S. Blanchard St., Wheaton.

Tickets can be purchased at the district's website, wheatonparkdistrict.com, in person at the Mary Lubko Center, 208 W. Union Ave, Wheaton, or the community center, or by phone at 630-665-1415.

Keysor said she has enjoyed the camaraderie among the group's members.

"I've made some really great relationships here, and I also have enjoyed the challenge," she said. "I know that when I walk into this room that I'm going to be working collectively with a group of people towards a common goal that at the end of night, we make really great music. It's not always easy, but it's always fun."

Beyond Glee is under the direction of Paul Sirvatka, who is professor of meteorology at the College of DuPage. The Glen Ellyn resident interviewed for the job.

"I've always wanted to direct a choir," Sirvatka said. "My whole family's [involved] in choral directing."

He lauded the talents of the group's members.

"I tell you, we've got some amazing singers," Sirvatka said. "And I just love the music we can make. For a community choir, it's an amazing group. For me as an artist, it's just wonderful."

Hannah Reutelsterz, 19, of Germany joined Beyond Glee last fall. She is an au pair to a Glen Ellyn family.

"I sang back in Germany in different choirs, and I just wanted to keep singing," she said.

She feels the group's members harmonize well together.

"Everyone hears everything," said Reutelsterz, who sings soprano in the group. "We learn new songs very fast, which requires practicing at home as well."

Beyond Glee currently boasts about 30 members of all ages.

"We have a couple of people who are in their teens, like 19, and then we have people who are older than that, in their 60s," Sirvatka said. "I love that. Older voices have a little bit more dark richness, and some of the younger voices have nice fresh tones. We have a ton of different types of music. We have to sing one way for a song, and we have to sing completely different for another song. We have to match the appropriate style of the song that we're singing."

Sirvatka said the group tries to put the spotlight on a wide range of musical styles. For example, the upcoming American Classics show will be heavy on jazz, Broadway tunes and movie music, Sirvatka said.

Beyond Glee performs two music programs a year. The group performs Christmas and holiday music in the fall, as well as a spring program.

Beyond Glee hopes to perform more in the future, he said.

"Right now, we've got such a great core group that we would like to be able to perform more often," Sirvatka said. "So we're looking for avenues to sing and perform. Rehearsing is great, but we'd like to take our music out and let people know about us."

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If you go

What: Beyond Glee presents American Classics
When: 7:30 to 9 p.m. April 21
Where: Wheaton Park District Community Center, 1777 S. Blanchard St., Wheaton
Cost: $10 for adults until April 20 or $12 at the door, $7 for children 10 and younger and seniors 60 and older until April 20 or $10 at the door
Info: wheatonparkdistrict.com

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