Susquehanna Chorale invites audience to escape from ‘traffic of life’

The Susquehanna Chorale is a volunteer choir. That means when its members aren’t singing, they are working as nurses, music teachers, lawyers and accountants, just to name a few.

The Susquehanna Chorale will sing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater. The group will also perform with the Chautauqua Choir at Sunday’s 10:45 a.m. morning worship service and again at 8 p.m. Sunday in the Sacred Song Service.

In 1981, Linda Tedford brought together people of various occupations and founded the Susquehanna Chorale, which started with 11 members. Today, the group consists of 35 regional artists. Tedford serves as the group’s artistic director, and she is also the director of choral activities at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where the Susquehanna Chorale is in residence.

“[Singing] gives you an opportunity to come away from a place that is separate from the ordinary … from the traffic of life,” Tedford said. “Choral music, in particular, has text which expresses every emotion known to humankind.”

The Susquehanna Chorale will be performing music from its new CD, Sojourn, which features a variety of musical styles, including music from the Baroque and Romantic periods, hymn tunes, folk songs and motets, Tedford said. The group’s repertoire focuses on variety, which gives the audience the opportunity to experience a wide range of emotions.

“I’d love to have the audience join with us in singing, so they can become part of the concert itself,” Tedford said. “We want people to join with us in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s a song about hope or laughter or sorrow.”

With inspiration from her father, an opera singer, Tedford has had a passion for singing since a young age, she said. She is the individual recipient of the 2013 Theatre Harrisburg Arts Award, which recognizes an individual and an organization each year for their contributions to the arts in central Pennsylvania, she said.

The Susquehanna Chorale sings annually with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and was recently accepted as one of the featured choirs at next year’s American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Convention in Baltimore, Tedford said.

The group has distributed six CDs internationally and has toured across Austria, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and England, she said. The choir is also known for its educational outreach program for local students.

“We love what we do,” Tedford said. “We want the audience to connect with us, and we work very hard to portray our love of choral singing.”