South Windsor Community Chorus open to new members

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Wed., Jan. 29, 2014
South Windsor Community Chorus President Lee Mann and Vice President Janet Rataic Huot kick off their spring season with the chorus. Photos by Lisa Stone.
South Windsor Community Chorus President Lee Mann and Vice President Janet Rataic Huot kick off their spring season with the chorus. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Hoping to attract new members and get started with rehearsals for its next concert, the South Windsor Community Chorus held an open house at South Windsor High School on Jan. 27. Though many members are returning for another season of songs and friendships, the organization is always open to new members. The chorus meets every Monday night from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. and there is no audition required.

Though the accompanist for the chorus is still David Wallace, Susan Leach-Hebert is the new music director for the SWCC. “We are very fortunate to have her,” said President Lee Mann. “Jo-Ann Thomas wasn’t able to continue to be our music director, so we were fortunate to be able to get Susan to do it.” Leach -Hebert is a music teacher at Eli Terry Elementary School in South Windsor. “She is a wonderful addition to our crew and the members seem to really like her,” said Mann.

Mann has been a singer himself since he was 13, which he said was in 1947. Mann was a backup singer for Michael Bolton in 2007 for the television show, “Clash of the Choirs.” He proudly refers to himself as an octogenarian and adds that there are a couple of others in the chorus who are at or above the 80-year-old mark as well. “We are like a family here. That is the most important thing to me. We do a lot for each other and we have all grown very close over the years,” said Mann. As Mann finished that sentence, the room began to sing “Happy Birthday” to the two chorus members who had birthdays in January.

The group is working toward its June 6 concert, which will be held at South Windsor High School. The theme of the concert has not yet been determined. According to Mann, the group practices a few pieces of work and the members all give their input as to what they would like to sing. The Board of Directors meets and decides what would be best for the musical group. “We have a wonderful Board of Directors. They are very dedicated and work very hard to make the season go smooth. The chorus would not be as successful without those members,” said Mann.

The SWCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and does not do any fundraising projects. Instead, it holds two concerts per year and asks for donations from the attendees. Members also pay $30 per season as dues. With this money, the SWCC offers a $500 scholarship to a South Windsor High School music student and donates 10 percent of the proceeds from concerts to the South Windsor Food and Fuel Bank.

The SWCC got its start in 1971. It began with family members who would sing to raise money for marching band uniforms. The membership has grown over the years; last season there were 66 members. Mann and Vice President Janet Rataic Huot are hoping for an even larger count for this season. On the first night, there were five members who had not been able to attend the chorus for three years. Now, they feel that it is time to get back into it.

Mann would like to thank the chorus members as well as the Board of Directors for such a great job each season. The board members are Janet Querido, Janet Rataic Huot, Eileen Nelli, Patricia Sessions, Julie Cote, Janice McGinley, Nancy Kerensky and Warren McDermott.

For more information about the SWCC, visit or call Lee Mann at 860-875-2589.

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