The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday January 22nd

Chapel Hill chorus changes name to Voices

When the group formerly known as the Chapel Hill Community Chorus doesn’t sound exactly right, member Jane Thurston said it hurts all the members.

That’s why, after more than 30 years of existence, the chorus is rebranding itself to convey its quality and the variety of its membership and audience.

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Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3 p.m. Dec. 17
Location: Hill Hall
Tickets: $6 for students, $18 for the general public

The Chapel Hill Community Chorus recently announced that it is changing its name to Voices.

Sally Jones is a board member of the chorus and has sung in it for six years. She said the new name better represents the chorus because it is more prestigious than the original name implied.

“When it started out, it was much more, ‘anyone that wants to sing can come and sing,’” she said.

“Nowadays, it’s a much more experienced group of singers. We’re much more than an amateur chorus.”

The group has more than 100 members, ranging from undergraduate students to senior citizens.

Thurston is a board member and has sung with Cantari, the a cappella choir within Voices, for six years.

Members have to audition and can be asked to leave if their voice isn’t working with the overall sound, she said.

They asked Jonathan Prince, a brand consultant and next-door neighbor of a singer, for help finding a name that better represented their rigorous standards and was easy to remember, Thurston said.

In order to find the name that best fit the chorus, he surveyed community members to find out how well-known the chorus was and what the current name meant to people.

“Any time you change the name of something in the community, you have to be careful because people are going to be attached to it,” Thurston said.

The group ultimately decided on Voices because it was simple but meaningful, Jones said.

Not all members think the new name is an improvement.

“I have mixed feelings about it,” said Andy Champion, a member of Cantari and a UNC junior.

“On the one hand, it’s catchier, but Chapel Hill Community Chorus identified us more with the community, which I did like. When people ask me who I sing with, I still say that.”

Even though the chorus is somewhat exclusive, community is a key part of its identity, Thurston said. She said the variety of ages within each section makes it feel like a family.

“It’s really great that we have people from all ages and walks of life together.”

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