LaGrange Park, Oak Park volunteers do more than sing for Apollo Chorus

Sara Locatelli of La Grange Park joined the Apollo Chorus because she loves to sing. So did Oak Park native Paul Wagner. But their commitment to the choral group goes beyond raising their voices in song.

Locatelli is the organization’s Outreach Chair. Wagner is the Musicianship Chair.

Locatelli joined the Apollo Chorus in 2005. “I’ve been singing my entire life,” she said. “I started singing in choirs when I was six or seven years old. In 2004, I moved to Chicago to work on my PhD at Loyola.” A friend in that graduate program who was in the chorus encouraged Locatelli to join.

She has several functions as Outreach Chair. “There’s the educational component — teaching people about music,” Locatelli said. That includes creating a student guide for concerts.

“I also help organize the preconcert talks which are usually done by our conductor,” she noted.

In addition, she arranges performances within the community, including at the Hines VA Hospital where Locatelli has a research position.

Her next goal is to promote audience involvement via a website.

Wagner has a variety of responsibilities as Musicianship Chair. “I coordinate the auditions and I am also the chairman of the Programming Committee,” he said. He serves as the liaison between Music Director Stephen Alltop and the section leaders.

This is Wagner’s third year with the group. “It was a long time since I had sung in a choir,” he recalled. “One of my friends from high school was in it and I decided to audition. I haven’t regretted it since.” He loves the chorus so much that he has stayed with it even though he now lives in Indiana.

Both singers are looking forward to the chorus’ May 2 and 4 concerts, “The Beatles and Friends.”

“I really love this concert. I’m a big Beatles fan,” Locatelli said. Her favorite selections include, “Yesterday,” “Blackbird,” “In My Life” and “Penny Lane.”

“The Beatles music is really, really exciting,” Wagner declared. “Some of the arrangements are incredible. There’s Gospel arrangements of Beatles songs. For some of the ‘and Friends’ parts, there are arrangements made for ‘Glee.’ Most of them will be sung a cappella and so we picked these really rich arrangements that will blow everybody’s minds.”

‘The Beatles and Friends’

The Apollo Chorus

When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 2, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago or 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4, First United Church, 848 Lake St., Oak Park

Cost: $25, $10 for students

Contact: (312) 427-5620; www.apollochorus.org

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