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Rock Voices 'sing out' with sense of community

Rock Voices 'sing out' with sense of community

Saratoga group to perform Motown show on Sunday
Rock Voices 'sing out' with sense of community
Nathan Altimari is director of both the Saratoga Rock Voices and Albany Rock Voices.
Photographer: provided photo

Voices will rise up at Abundant Life Church in Saratoga Springs on Sunday, but it won’t be hymns that meet the audience’s ears.

It will be the sounds of Motown. 

“The music is undeniably incredible,” said Nathan Altimari. He’s the director of Saratoga Rock Voices and Albany Rock Voices, the former of which will perform Sunday. 

Rock Voices is part of a larger group of singers from around the country. The organization was founded by Tony Lechner, who still runs the Hadley, Brattleboro and Northampton groups. The idea is based on the notion that singing recognizable rock music can bring together two groups of people: those who can’t read music but want to sing; and those who can read music and who are looking for a musical outlet. 

Altimari began the Albany group last year, starting out with just a few members before that blossomed into dozens. Earlier this year, he decided to start a Saratoga chapter as well. 

“The Saratoga group started off really strong,” Altimari said. 

And while the sessions are often filled with singing, there’s also plenty of conversation.

“The community aspect of what we do almost overshadows the music,” Altimari said. 

“I love that you meet new people every time,” said Phyllis Aldrich of Saratoga Springs. 

Since she joined the group in May, Aldrich has met people from all different backgrounds from throughout the Capital Region. She has also recruited several other members. 

“I’ve always loved singing groups,” Aldrich said, adding that she doesn’t feel she’s an especially strong solo singer. While she has been singing in the choir at St. George’s in Clifton Park for 25 years, she hesitated to join other choirs.

“Other singing groups, you have to audition for. It’s more pressure,” Aldrich said. 

With Rock Voices there’s no need to audition. Altimari sets the tone right from the beginning — that the group will be more about joining together than hitting the perfect note every time, telling people to “sing out.”

“I’ve had a lot of choir leaders and he’s among the best,” Aldrich said.

She tries to attend every rehearsal, not because she’s worried about picking up the material, but because she said she feels rejuvenated afterward. 

“It keeps me young,” Aldrich said. 

For Sunday’s concert, the group will be singing some of Aldrich’s favorites such as “Dancing in the Street,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Proud Mary,” during which no one will be able to keep still, said Aldrich. 

A live rock band with a three-piece horn section will join Saratoga Rock Voices for the performance. 

The concert, which begins at 6 p.m., will raise money for Saratoga Center for the Family, a not-for-profit that offers programs geared toward reducing the effects of abuse, trauma and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy. 

Tickets are $8 for students, $12 for seniors and $15 for adults. They can be purchased at rockvoices.com or through the Saratoga Center for the Family’s Facebook page.

The Albany group will also give a performance this weekend, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday at Colonie Central High School. Ticket prices are the same as the Saratoga show.

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