It's obvious that the music teachers who play in the Allegro String Quartet and sing in the Allegheny Chorale are in it for their love of music, but they also get some extra rewards at times, too, said one of the members.
"It's a neat thing when a lot of our students graduate and they come back and see us,'' said Amy Perchey, who plays cello for the Allegro String Quartet.
Perchey of Altoona is a retired music teacher, and at least three other women in the quartet and the chorale are either active or retired music teachers. That comes in handy for two groups that are so much involved with the local music scene.
Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec
Cellist Amy Perchey, Maureen Verzilla (center, on violin) and Jennifer Wright (on viola), all members of the Allegro String?Quartet, practice in front of the Allegheny Chorale at the First Prebyterian Church in?Tyrone.
For the first time, the quartet is joining the chorale in two concerts this holiday season, "Christmas: A Celebration with Strings and Song," one in Altoona and a second in Tyrone. Both musical groups have a history of entertaining locally, with the 75-member Allegheny Chorale currently under the direction of Deborah Estright of Tipton. Estright is a music teacher in the Tyrone Area School District.
The chorale will be accompanied by Anna Myers and Susan Daly on piano and percussionist Paul Turner. Song selections include such classics as "Angels We Have Heard on High'' and "O Come, All Ye Faithful,'' combined with more modern pieces such as "Baby, It's Cold Outside.''
"The first half is sacred music, and then we move into more contemporary music in the second half,'' said chorale member and publicity spokeswoman Maureen Drain of Tyrone.
If you go
What: "Christmas: A Celebration of Strings and Song" by the Allegheny Chorale
When: 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1407 Eighth Ave., Altoona; and 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at First Presbyterian Church, 102 W. 13th St., Tyrone
Admission: Free, though a free-will offering will be accepted during intermission
Details: Refreshments will be served following both concerts. For more information, call 684-1894 or visit facebook.com/AlleghenyChorale
Drain, who's been with the chorale for about 12 years, said the Tyrone-based group has grown recently in membership.
"We've seen a steady increase in the past few years,'' she said. "New members have come in, and they've been bringing in other new people.''
They've also branched out to try new things, like incorporating the Allegro group into their concert.
Other members of the Allegro String Quartet include Karen Sackandy and Maureen Verzella, both on violin, and Jennifer Wright on viola.
The professional quartet, formed a little more than a decade ago, came together when the women - all either active or retired members of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra - saw a niche in the area for a string quartet to play at weddings, corporate functions and other events, Perchey said.
"We thought there was a need for a string quartet for venues outside of a church,'' she said.