Changing Voices in the Valley

Nancy Curtis and Bob Moore were applauded at their swan song concert in May.

Nancy Curtis and Bob Moore were applauded at their swan song concert in May.

In its 60-plus years, the Valley Voices have had just four directors. So Nancy Curtis of Rose Valley, recently retired from the post after 21 years, is definitely above average. Recruited by her parents in 1995, Nancy took the unpaid director job “thinking it would be temporary.” Curtis, a mezzo-soprano who has sung professionally, will still sing with the Voices, she said. “We are like family,” she said, “but I won’t miss having to be at the Old Mill every Wednesday.”

Echoing Curtis’s mixed relief and wistfulness, Bob Moore of Plush Mills in Wallingford looks forward to serving as a baritone in the chorus rather than accompanying it on piano, as he had done for more than 30 years. “When you’re an accompanist, you have to make every rehearsal,” he said. “I even used to schedule business trips so I would be home by Wednesday night.”

A pianist since 1st grade, Bob and his wife Abby (an alto) have been involved with the Voices since the early 1980s, when both joined as singers. It wasn’t long until Bob accepted the (unpaid) job of accompanist. “Music is its own reward, but most people (including me) need motivation to practice, for instance, preparing for a concert.”

Curtis says, “It’s hard work, banging out the notes when we are first learning a piece. But once we learn the score, the fun part happens as we start to shape a piece and express ourselves.”

Doing the “banging out” in her place will be Jane Urban, a soprano in the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church choir and formally trained cellist who teaches music at Nether Providence Elementary School. One Voices member said, “If anyone can replace Nancy, it’s Jane.” Regarding the empty piano bench, Bob Moore said, “Jane will come up with a good accompanist. And I’ll still be around as a backup.”

Accompanist Sought; Singers, Too

If you wish to be considered as a candidate for volunteer piano accompanist for the Valley Voices, and are comfortable playing for weekly rehearsals at the Old Mill in Rose Valley plus several concerts per year, contact Voices member Jim Audley at (610) 566-7759. Jim says you should also call him if you are a singer with enthusiasm for varied types of music, eager to be part of a convivial performance group — “particularly if you are a bass or baritone” — or if you wish to request a Valley Voices concert for an organization or event.

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