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2015 Lifestyle & LeisureEditors' Choice

Best Choir

Calling All Choir

Stephen Loewinsohn

When I joined the Calling All choir a year ago, I thought it would be fun to stretch my vocal cords and relive my high school glory days as Glee Club president. What I got was much, much better: a new and treasured community of friends. Founded two years ago by Oakland musician Mark Growden, the choir has blossomed into an extended singing family that’s way, way hipper than the Von Trapps. Member Cynthia Wood said she has not only forged “inspiring new friendships,” but also launched a new journalism project with one of her fellow sopranos. “I’m not surprised, because that’s what music can do,” said Growden, whose contemporary chorale pieces are the backbone of the choir’s repertoire. “You feel the feeling in the room of warmth and community. Anyone can join; no audition required (hence, “Calling All”), and more than 70 members now sing at three practices each week—two in San Francisco and one at the Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland. The fall season begins in mid-September; new singers welcome.