“The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest – it is wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte
Wholehearted is a non-audition, heart-led, joy-based community chorus with more than 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.
**** UNTIL THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS CAUSED BY COVID-19 IS MITIGATED, CLASSES ARE NOT MEETING AND OUR CONCERTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. SINGERS ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE LEARNING UNTIL WE CAN GATHER SAFELY ****
MORE ABOUT US
All songs at Wholehearted are learned by heart, in the ancient oral tradition without sheet music. Practice recordings and lyric sheets are provided during the seasons to support learning.
New and returning singers are welcome to check us out during the first 3 weeks of each season, with no commitment. We request that all singers either sign-up for an ongoing subscription or pay upfront season dues if they wish to stay. No singer is ever turned away for financial reasons. If you would like to sing, please join us!
Schedule & Location
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.
Mondays in Monterey – 5:30 – 7 pm
We meet on Mondays at the Monterey American Legion near Veteran’s Park, 1110 Veterans Dr, Monterey, CA 93940.
Wednesdays in Big Sur – 5:30 – 7 pm
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.
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!
MAKE A WHOLEHEARTED COMMITMENT
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.
Honorary Singer Subscription
For out-of-town singers who want to participate in our circle.
Receive 2 custom practice CDs a year and learn the songs with us
Receive a Wholehearted t-shirt after six months of subscribing
Attend classes or concerts free when you’re in town
Support our little singing-movement-that-could
Wholehearted Singer Subscription
The standard monthly subscription for Wholehearted singers. Includes:
All Monday and Wednesday classes, all year round
All concert season expenses such as lyric sheets and practice CDs
A Wholehearted t-shirt
One private lesson with Lisa annually
Wholehearted Legacy Subscription
For Wholehearted patrons. Includes everything at the standard level, plus:
Partial sponsorship of a low-income community member
Two private lessons with Lisa annually
Honorary Wholehearted Advisor status
HOW DO I JOIN?
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.
WHAT'S THE COMMITMENT TO JOIN THE CHORUS?
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.
CAN I STILL JOIN IF I CAN'T COME EVERY WEEK?
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.
CAN I STILL JOIN IF THE SEASON HAS ALREADY STARTED?
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.
I DON'T WANT TO SING IN THE CONCERTS OR COMMIT TO THE SEASON BUT STILL WANT TO SING! WHAT DO I DO?
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: https://thebirdsings.com/classes
DOES IT MATTER IF I COME TO BIG SUR OR MONTEREY CLASSES?
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.
WHAT WILL WE SING?
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.
DOES WHOLEHEARTED MEET BETWEEN SEASONS?
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.
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.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
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.