Wholehearted is a non-audition, heart-led, joy-based community chorus with nearly 150 members, ages 6-92, in Monterey & Big Sur, CA. Led by Lisa G. Littlebird, we sing a diverse blend of largely contemporary and original songs from around the world, learned by heart in the oral tradition and selected for their ability to soothe, empower and enliven.
The mission of Wholehearted is to create a more harmonious world by singing together.
Start your new year/decade right! Debbie Nargi-Brown will be leading a five-week mini-session on Monday nights starting January 13th through February 10th, 5:30 – 7 pm at the American Legion in Monterey.
We will sing songs that uplift the soul, make your body move, and make your heart sing! Those participating in this session will have the opportunity to be on Debbie’s new CD. We will record songs during our session on February 3 and 10.
Our culminating event with be a Big Sing! on Sunday, February 16th from 3-5pm with Lisa G. Littlebird and Debbie at Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley.
This mini-season is $90 for the season, or included for Wholehearted subscribers. Drop-ins welcome during the first two sessions of the mini-session for $20 per session. No-one turned away for lack of funds. Please make your financial aid request at the first class.
For more than 3 decades, Debbie Nargi-Brown has been leading dancing and singing in Santa Cruz and beyond; teaching African Inspired dance classes, leading Community Sings as well as facilitating retreats and workshops. She writes songs for the heart, for healing, for transformation, for love, for grief and all those things that connects us as human beings. Bringing people together in dance and song is one of her greatest sources of joy as well as bringing that joy to others! To learn more, visit debbienargi-brown.com
Meets Mondays 5:30 to 7pm in Monterey and/or Wednesdays 5:30 to 7pm in Big Sur
February 24 – Special Season Kickoff with Melanie from 5:30 – 8:30 at the American Legion Post 41 in Monterey
March 28-29 – Optional Bridge-Building to Equity Workshops for Wholehearted Members
April 14 – Optional Grief Ceremony with Laurence Cole, Tuesday the 14th from 5:30-9:30pm.
April 18-19 – Season Weekend Campout Retreat. Melanie will join us all day Sunday the 19th.
May 27, 29 & 31 – Season Concerts
Join us for another inspiring, uplifting season with the Wholehearted Chorus, led by Lisa G. Littlebird and featuring a special collaboration with Melanie DeMore. Melanie supports diverse communities in raising their voices with power, determination, and compassion. This season a portion of our repertoire will be from the African-American tradition, with a thematic focus on bridge-building to communities of color in the service of dismantling systemic racism.
These seasons are open to all singers, regardless of experience. To register, submit your season dues payment of $260 on or before the season begins. You can do this below or bring cash or check to the first class. Your season dues cover all classes for the season, our season weekend retreat, practice recordings and a variety of perks of community membership including a dedicated members website, Facebook page, discounts to workshops and more, invitations to community events and much more. Alternately, committed Wholehearteds can sustain us by becoming an annual or monthly subscriber below. All Wholehearted seasons and drop-in classes are included in that membership.
Financial aid is available! If you need support to join us, please come to the first class of the season and take a scholarship application form. No one is turned away due to financial constraint, and we make a particular effort to reach toward members of marginalized communities.
Melanie DeMore is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song. She is a sought after presenter, conductor, soloist and song/ prayer facilitator. She is adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies, Master teaching artist for CalPerformances at UC Berkeley, a featured presenter for SpeakOut! the Institute for Social and Cultural Change and was the Artistic Conductor of The Oakland Children’s Community Choir with Living Jazz for nine years. She was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richey Havens, Pete Seeger and many others. She believes in the power of voices raised together and says “A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath
New and returning singers are welcome during the first few weeks of any season, with no commitment. We request that all singers either sign-up for an ongoing subscription or make a season commitment early in the season, to help sustain the predictable costs of the Chorus. No singer is ever turned away for financial reasons. If you would like to sing, please join us!
Choose the location most convenient for you. Most singers come to one each week but all are welcome at both. Our two communities join and sing together in our season concerts.
We meet on Mondays at the Monterey American Legion near Veteran’s Park, 1110 Veterans Dr, Monterey, CA 93940.
Join this group and leave a review on Meetup.com.
We meet at the Big Sur Grange Hall. The Grange is located on the west side of Highway 1 just south of the Big Sur Roadhouse.
Looking for upcoming drop-in classes? Click here:DROP-IN COMMUNITY SINGING SCHEDULE
Our chorus never turns away a singer for financial reasons. The scholarship fund allows us to welcome all singers, and your support is creating a circle of generosity… thank you!
Our singing tribe is sustained through subscriptions of our singers. It’s a huge support to us if you become a regular, ongoing subscriber instead of paying season fees. Thank you!
Singers who can’t join us often may become honorary subscribers.
Subscribe with Paypal here or make a one-time annual payment with Lisa. Annual rates are: $60 Honorary, $780 Standard, $1200 Legacy.
Just show up! Wholehearted is open to men and women 14 and over. (See our kids choir page for younger members.) No experience or audition is ever required. We meet year round on most Mondays at the American Legion Hall in Monterey (1110 Veterans Dr, Monterey, CA 93940) and Wednesdays at the Grange Hall in Big Sur. During our spring and fall seasons we sings songs that take more time to learn so we recommend more consistent attendance.
If you decide to join us for the season, you can either become a subscription member (see above) or pay for a single season online (above) or at class with cash, check, or credit card. Scholarships are available upon request for singers in need.
Consistent attendance will also support your learning and greatly contributes to our sense of community. If you wish to sing in the concerts a minimum of 50% season attendance is requested.
Yes! You can use the practice recordings to support your learning if you miss meetings and still want to sing in the concerts. And, consistent attendance will greatly support your learning and contribute to our sense of community. If you wish to sing in the concerts, a minimum of 50% season attendance is requested.
Yes! If it is within the first few weeks of the season or so, please come join us. If we are more than halfway through the season, it may be too challenging to get up to speed on all the material, however if you are an experienced singer you may have no problem with the help of our season practice recordings and I welcome you to come give it a shot.
Please drop in! We’d still love to meet you and can share information about other drop-in singing opportunities in the community. The first half of the season is the ideal time for new singers to join us, or at the drop-in classes between the seasons. If you drop in or join us more than halfway through a season it may be more challenging to keep up with our learning.
Cynthia Fernandes and Lisa also offer a Tuesday night drop-in class of restorative community singing in Carmel. All are welcome, year-round. Learn more here:
Singers are welcome to attend the Monterey (Monday) or Big Sur (Wednesday) classes, or both. Your season contribution covers them all. Visiting the other tribe is fun and encouraged. Both groups sing together at the retreat and concerts.
We sing songs from a wide variety of genres, but they are largely contemporary and original songs in English and 2-4 part harmony. All songs are learned by oral tradition, with no sheet music. We sing a diverse mix of traditional chants & rounds, spirituals, gospel, folk, pop and original compositions.
During the fall and spring seasons we use lyric sheets and practice recordings to support learning.
Yes! Lisa coordinates mini-seasons with Guest Songleaders and/or offers drop-in classes each week all year round – on Mondays in Monterey and on Wednesdays in Big Sur. Check the calendar for the schedule and details.
Wholehearted has a closed group Facebook page for regular singers to share information. Request to be added here:
Wholehearted is on Meetup! Welcome new singers and help them find us by RSVPing to classes and leave a review:
Songs with recordings of individual parts will begin being posted on the website early in the season. Custom practice CDs become available about halfway through each season.
I am blessed to have a beautiful singing circle here in Monterey at last! I consider it my song sangha! The leader is Lisa Goettel. She is lovely, sings like a bird, with such a generosity of spirit and is a very skilled and delightful teacher. She is spreading the joy of singing together around the world and making these songs accessible to all.
I find it strange that with all the psycho-therapeutic modalities I've explored, I never really put singing together with healing. How did I miss that ? (rhetorical) There was a moment during last weeks class that Lisa said (in a rather quiet voice) ``We're Healers.`` That was the moment it crystallized.
Lisa is a whiz at bringing out the best in us with a Buddhist approach - total acceptance, no judgment, great support, empathy and compassion. My friends at our spring concert were wowed and loved it all - they all commented on the great assortment of songs, the fact that we all seemed to be in complete joy and that they were infected by our passion.
I feel like I’ve found my heart’s home with all of you. Lisa and her vision are a gift from the Divine.