MEMBERS OF THE BACH FESTIVAL CHOIR
Hometown: Havana, Cuba (also grew up in Chicago and Miami)
Lives in: Orlando
Education: Business and Law
Work: CPA and Attorney
Hobbies: Relaxing, reading and Sudoku. I also just finished writing a biographical book about a case that went to US Supreme Court with little bit of notoriety about 20 years ago.
How I got into music: I’ve been singing since junior high school. When I was 17, I sang with U of Miami Civic Chorale, opened Miami Berach Gusman Hall, and from there on in, I was hooked. We did Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Since then, I’ve always looked for groups that prepare the same sacred and classical works.
Singing with the best: Bach Festival Choir is certainly very high caliber, even though there’s just a sprinkling of music professionals in the group. People don’t think of us at amateur volunteer singers, compared to other groups. The students that Dr. Sinclair invites into the choir are in the process of becoming professionals, and the adults, whether retired or working, have a profound or lengthy music background. It really makes a great group.
Learning at Rehearsals: Dr. Sinclair is a choir director, bar none, who is superior in his knowledge and committed to bringing the best out of everyone. I’ve never walked away on a Monday night after rehearsal without learning something musically about a composer, their lives or their inspiration. Dr. Sinclair is always willing to share that information with us. It gets us to feel more inspired when we understand the history and the environment of the piece.
Volunteering: I have, since 1985, done quite a bit of pro-bono work as a child advocate. If there’s anything I want to be remembered for, it is that we can all do more pro-bono work and community work. There’s always someone who can use our help. I see music making as a service, too. At church, we talk about service, we think of our creating music as a wonderful service—as much as we get from singing, others get enjoyment, too.
Favorite memory: The memories I really enjoy are always Christmas in the Park. Those concerts are unique, because you get a spontaneous response from the audience—we’re really close to the crowd, and can feel their enthusiasm. Another favorite was when we did a Mendelssohn violin concerto, and the way that Ruta played that violin with such virtuosity. That concert that day can’t be topped, because everything was perfect. The choir sang well, and then to have this solo performance, too, was just wonderful. We’re very lucky to have an orchestra of such high caliber. That’s what makes concerts magical – when everything goes beautifully. You just feel it, emotionally, and we get such good feedback. I don’t think we’ve ever done a concert without a standing ovation, and that says volumes.