The Bethesda Chamber Singers: Front row, left to right: Ann Cook, Mimi Kuester, Nancy Allinson, Silvia Maza, Cathy Sloss, and Diane Mountain. Back row, left to right: Bill Richards, Peter Munson, Richard Cook, Bob Kibler, Gary Chirlin, Jon Mathis, and John Carley.
The Bethesda Chamber Singers: Front row, left to right: Ann Cook, Mimi Kuester, Nancy Allinson, Silvia Maza, Cathy Sloss, and Diane Mountain. Back row, left to right: Bill Richards, Peter Munson, Richard Cook, Bob Kibler, Gary Chirlin, Jon Mathis, and John Carley.

The Bethesda Chamber Singers, an a cappella singing group, will be featured at the Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. program of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church’s Art and Spirit Coffeehouse, 600 M Street, SW. According to spokesman John Carley, “the Bethesda Chamber Singers have been making a cappella music with panache for more than a quarter century.” Coffee and desserts will be served throughout the evening, followed by questions and answers.

The program at St. Augustine’s Art and Spirit Coffeehouse will include Jewish and Anglo-Catholic liturgical music, a renaissance travelogue, an African-American spiritual and a selection of popular classics from from the 1920s and 30s.

Their repertoire ranges from medieval music to rock-n-roll, with intermediate stops for renaissance madrigals and motets, 19th and 20th century art songs and the Great American Songbook. Carley said, “We sing for our own and the audiences’ pleasure; particularly enthusiastic members of the audience will be allowed to pet the panache after performances, weather permitting!”

Begun in the early 1980s as a spinoff from the choir at Bethesda United Methodist Church, “the group,” explained Carley, “over the years, learned to operate as a cooperative, deciding on repertoire and interpretations and performance commitments by consensus, and relying on each other to step up to perform essential chores like maintaining the library and preparing programs. And we decided we’d sing only a cappella.”

Though none of the founding members are still with the group, Carley, along with Diane Mountain and Cathy Sloss, have participated since 1985.

The Southwest Episcopal Church’s Art & Spirit Coffeehouse series opens on the first Wednesday of each month to showcase local artists in their various media as they perform and share how their faith, art and social worldview intersect, according to the Rev. Martha Clark, Priest-in-Charge at St. Augustine’s. Donations will be accepted to help provide honoraria for the guest artists. Contact rector@staugustinesdc.org, 202-554-3222 or visit www.staugustinesdc.org for further information.

By Elaine F. Graves

Editor’s Note: The Bethesda Chamber Singers’ March 6th performance was postponed due to weather and will instead be held on Wednesday, April 3rd, at 7:00 pm.

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