Being new to the area makes everything around Walworth County a surprise for me, and meeting the ladies with the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus was an absolute treat! They were all smiles, and I mean ALL smiles! And then they began to sing. My instant thought once they started: WOW. Their haromonies are as friendly and welcoming as their smiles. This genuine group of gals sing their heart out in practice every week, and when they perform for an audience, they wow them too, and often bring home honors of recognition for their talents. Lucky little me got to ask Director Tessa August a bunch of questions about herself as the Director, and the chorus. Read on to learn more about this incredible chorus, and where you can plan to see them perform in the upcoming months.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about Spirit of the Lakes Chorus.
TA: The Spirit of the Lakes Chorus is a women’s chorus, which performs a cappella four-part harmony. We have a great director, we love to sing, we laugh a lot, and we have become great friends on our musical journey. Get ready to sing, laugh, and meet other women who share your love of singing. We are an award-winning chorus! As part of Sweet Adelines International, we compete annually in our Regional Competition, and we often come home with medals to recognize our achievements.
WCVB: What type of music does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus perform?
TA: Barbershop, and other a cappella four-part harmony.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself, as Director of the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus.
TA: I took over the reins as director of Spirit of the Lakes Chorus in July of 2015, after the retirement of co-directors, Joe and Kay Liles. I received my Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2012 from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. While at St. Nobrert, I studied in the Voice Studio of Dr. Michael Rosewall with an emphasis in Classical and Opera. I was very involved in Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir, Vocal Jazz, St. Norbert Abbey Singers, and Knight Theatre during my years at St. Norbert College. A native of Walworth, WI, I moved back to Lake Geneva area and am currently the full time Director of Sales at Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva, and part-time Sales Manager at Gino’s East of Lake Geneva. I have stayed very involved with music by teaching private voice and beginner piano lessons. I also directs the musical production at myr high school alma mater, Big Foot High School, in Walworth. I am thrilled to to be the new director of Spirit of the Lakes!
WCVB: As Director of Spirit of the Lakes Chorus, what is your favorite part of being involved in the chorus?
TA: There is never a dull moment. I work about 75 hours a week in customer service, so to have my at least once a week night to completely escape into music is exactly what I need. My passion has always been music, hence why I have my Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. My favorite part of Spirit of the Lakes is the love. No matter what is going on, what we’re working toward, or even sometimes what we’re annoyed with…we really do love each other, and we make it through whatever we have to. Yes competition is fun and healthy, yes our performances are important, but if you’re not having fun what’s the point? And I’ll tell you..these ladies like to have fun!
WCVB: What can a visitor expect by attending a rehearsal?
TA: We pretty much throw you in..in a good way. All the ladies are very welcoming. The director will normally ask what part you used to sing in chorus, and perhaps voice test you a little bit to see what section she would most likely have you in. Then it is completely up to you if you sing along or just listen. It’s a great time, and there’s never anything to be scared of!
WCVB: How many members are currently in the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus?
TA: 19 and growing
WCVB: Who can participate in the chorus, and how does one get involved?
TA: Any female singer. Coming by during a rehearsal is great. You can meet us in a relaxed atmosphere, and get to know us a little bit. They can get in touch with the director, or any member, there is contact information on our website!
WCVB: Does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus have any upcoming events?
TA: We do! We will be performing on the Park Stage at the Walworth County Fair on Labor Day. We have a fall performance on Sunday, October 23rd at the Monte Carlo Room in Elkhorn. We will also have a Christmas/Holiday Concert at Horticultural Hall in December (date soon to be finalized).
WCVB: Does Spirit of the Lakes Chorus host local concerts?
TA: We can! We do a few every year, and can be hired out for performances as well. We usually do about a half hour to an hour of music depending on the event. We love to get out in our local community!
WCVB: Where can the public see Spirit of the Lakes Chorus perform?
TA: At the above performances.
WCVB: Can Spirit of the Lakes Chorus music be purchased?
TA: It can! We have a few CD’s for sale, including a lovely Christmas one. Just contact us for more details!