Wholehearted Community Chorus

Wholehearted is a non-audition, heart-led, joy-based community chorus with nearly 150 members, ages 6-91, 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.

UPCOMING SEASON INFORMATION

Winter Mini-Season with Debbie Nargi-Brown
MONTEREY, CA

American Legion Post 41
January 13th through February 16th
Mondays 5:30 to 7pm
Start your new year/decade with singing with the Wholehearted Chorus! 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 included in your annual/ongoing Wholehearted Chorus subscription or $90 for non-members. Drop-ins welcome during the first two sessions of the mini-session for $20 per session. No-one turned away for lack of funds, contact Debbie (dnargibrown@gmail.com) if you need financial assistance.
About Debbie: For over 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

Registration coming soon!

Spring Season featuring Melanie DeMore
MONTEREY, CA & BIG SUR, CA

American Legion Post 41
February 24th through May 31st
Mondays 5:30 to 7pm in Monterey & Wednesdays 5:30 to 7pm in Big Sur
Join us for another full season with the Wholehearted Chorus, featuring a special collaboration with Melanie DeMore. Melanie supports diverse communities in raising their voices with power, determination, and energy. We will sing from various vocal and communal traditions, bringing the best of the Wholehearted Chorus to partner with Melanie.
ABOUT MELANIE DEMORE, VOCAL ACTIVIST
Melanie DeMore is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. 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, the Trinity Choir, MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Chorus 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 you”.
Registration coming soon!
Note: Our season retreat in Big Sur will be April 18-19 and concerts will be May 29 and 31.

MORE ABOUT US

During the winter and summer mini-seasons, we meet most weeks for drop-in classes or shorter, easier repertoires. During the Spring and Fall concert seasons, we learn more complex songs over time with richer harmonies, culminating in two concerts.

All songs are learned by oral tradition with no sheet music. Practice recordings and lyric sheets are provided during the seasons to support learning.

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, 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!

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.
Join this group and leave a review on Meetup.com.

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.

Looking for upcoming drop-in classes? Click here:


SCHOLARSHIP FUND

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

  • $10month
      • 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

STANDARD SUBSCRIPTION
  • Wholehearted Singer Subscription

  • $65month
    • 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

  • $100month
    • For Wholehearted patrons. Includes everything at the standard level, plus:
    • Partial sponsorship of a low-income community member
    • Guest visits
    • Two private lessons with Lisa annually
    • Honorary Wholehearted Advisor status

FAQs

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 $250 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 at least 50% attendance is requested.

CAN I STILL JOIN IF I CAN'T COME EVERY WEEK?

Yes! There are no attendance requirements. You can use the practice recordings to support your learning if you miss meetings and still want to sing in the concerts. We do request that you endeavor to come as often as you can though, as it significantly assists our sense of community. Singing in the concerts is optional.

CAN I STILL JOIN IF THE SEASON HAS ALREADY STARTED?

Yes! If it is within the first three 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 spiritual, healing and devotional 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.

WHERE DO I JOIN THE FACEBOOK & MEETUP PAGES?

Wholehearted has a closed group Facebook page for regular singers to share information. Request to be added here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspirechoir

Wholehearted is on Meetup! Welcome new singers and help them find us by RSVPing to classes and leave a review:
http://www.meetup.com/Wholehearted-Chorus

WHEN DO WE GET OUR PRACTICE CD'S?

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

It's amazing how people sing out and even do their best when they just feel free ``like birds`` to sing and have fun. No one is yelling at them to raise their pitch, etc. People under Lisa's leadership seem to naturally be in musical harmony.
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.