On Super Bowl Sunday, 2002, seven people met to discuss the feasibility of starting a community chorus. The goal was lofty, the obstacles daunting. All the things that were necessary to form a group were missing – rehearsal space, music, money, and – most importantly – singers!
The seven founders, Mariellen and Lee Lemasters, Marian Molander, Nancy and Ken Beaty, Marilyn and Peter Highland, became the incorporators of Voices of Naples, Inc., a Florida not-for-profit corporation.
The first Artistic Director for Voices of Naples was Nancy Nugent Beaty. An accomplished soprano soloist and lifelong choral enthusiast, Nancy had extensive experience in both sacred choral works and musical theater. Nancy earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her Master of Arts degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Nancy was Artistic Director for eight years.
Almost magically, most of the missing elements fell into place. First Christian Church of Naples graciously allowed us to use their Fellowship Hall for rehearsals and, initially, to store the few pieces of music we were able to acquire.
Letters were sent to members of the community known to participate in and support choral music, inviting them to the first rehearsal in mid-February. The initial hope for 60 singers was quickly surpassed, as membership topped 85 within weeks.
During the summer hiatus, a windfall of music was received as a gift from the Ohio Valley Chorale in Wheeling, West Virginia, a group that had folded after being in existence for more than 20 years.
The First Concert
Plans were finalized for VON’s premiere concert, presented February 9, 2003 at First Christian Church to a standing-room-only audience.
In March, 2003 we received the designation of “charitable organization” under chapter 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and November 30, 2003 marked the first presentation of our annual “Sing-Along Messiah”
The operation of Voices of Naples is vested in a seven-member Board of Directors, including six directors elected by the membership in rotating classes, and the Artistic Director, who serves as an ex-officio member. The officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer) are chosen from within the board. Section leaders act as liaisons between the chorus and the director.