Voce Angeli in Italian means angel voices. (If you accidentally translate it from Latin into English it means noise.) To me it means joy, beauty, altruism, and laughter. Voce Angeli is our delicious women’s chamber choir based in Scranton. About thirty of us meet once a week in the summer to prepare a public concert to raise money for a different cause each year. In 2017 we raised money for a women’s center; this year’s beneficiary is Marley’s Mission.
It’s gratifying to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, but my favorite thing about this group is the women I get to play with. They are absolutely phenomenal singers and human beings. We laugh so hard in the Alto section I wind up snorting and causing a ruckus. I try to behave, I really do! But when I mark my music with a semicolon instead of a breath mark I have to show Marcie and her joy is infectious.
It’s a refreshingly ego-free team of babes. I can’t name any stereotypical divas even if I wanted to. They give so freely of their time, strength, and musicality that every Monday night isn’t a chore, it’s a gift.
Everyone has their own favorite song to sing. The Alto II consensus from last summer was a fast, pulsing, angry number called Dies Irae. It was so much fun to release all our pent up passion into the driving emotion of the song. Imagine an angry workout in Latin.
This summer, I don’t know if we have a favorite yet. I’m drawn more to the words than the melodies this year. “The Peace is Wild Things” sings like poetry, “Lullaby” breathes like a peacefully sleeping child.
I make jokes about “Ave Generosa”, riffing on the concept of how we as a group are figuratively generous while I myself am physically generous in the hip and booty area. (The cool kids would call it thicc but I have other euphemisms.)
The actual lyrics of the song were written in the 11th century and give praise to an “unpolluted” girl from a noble house who is shimmering in her chastity and sanctity, which God really digs.
But I like our modem translation of generosity better. Generosity in 2018 brings to mind the sharing of bounty and giving freely. It’s something I try to include in my daily routines. Sharing and kindness are words I try to live by, to teach by. The other women in the group are generous too; they volunteer, donate their time and talents, and share unconditionally. We’re a choir, but I think all these ladies are rock stars.
If you can, please join us at concert appearance. When you hear Ave Generosa, you’ll know our little secret. I’m far past the point of chastity, but I can celebrate my generosity inside the song and out.
P.S. (Voce Angelo’s 2018 concert is on August 18th at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scranton, PA, but we get around so if you hear about an appearance, we’ll be happy to see you!)