PopUp Chorus lets people sing away their troubles once a month

CARRBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A joyous sound echoed from the Carrboro ArtsCenter a day after the 2018 Midterm Elections. The sound was a classic pop song from the 80s:

"Shout, shout, let it all out. These are the things I can do without..."

But this wasn't a professional group of singers. Just a random gathering of friends and strangers who love to sing.

"Come on. I'm talking to you, come on..."

It was PopUp Chorus time again, a monthly gathering of folks who come together to sing as a group. On this night the songs were chosen to let participants get their emotions out - no matter where they stood politically.

"These are really fun songs tonight," said Matt Phillips, accompanying the singers on his acoustic guitar. "We're doing 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' by The Rolling Stones and by Tears for Fears."

Local arts entrepreneur Lauren Bromley Hodge founded PopUp Chorus in 2014 with the motto, "We embrace imperfection." Not much of a singer? No problem!

"Not everybody goes to church," she said. "A lot of the people who sing with us sang in college or in school, but they just don't have a chance to sing again. And some people just sing in their shower or their car, and they miss it! It's a human need."

There's no commitment, and no audition is required. You pay the $13 admission fee and receive the lyric sheet that night for the two pre-announced songs chosen for the month. Sometimes just a few dozen people show up. Sometimes more than 250.

"It's so much fun," says Pamela Moore, who's been a part of several PopUp Chorus events. "Good old-fashioned fun. Singing together, smiling, dancing, it's just wonderful!"

Amelia Shull, who enthusiastically leads the singers from the stage as the PopUp Chorus Conductor, says it's great to see each random gathering come together as a unit.

"No matter what the song is, even if it's something that I can't tell if everyone's going to be on board with, as soon as we all do it together and we're all singing and I look out in the audience -- everyone's just kind of alive with the sense that, 'We're singing and we're doing this together!'"

They spend about 45 minutes rehearsing each song and then they sing for real. The "performance" is recorded and uploaded to the PopUp Chorus' own YouTube channel.

"And however it is at the end of the rehearsal, it's OK," Lauren Hodge said. "If it's imperfect - and it will be - it's OK. However you sing, it's fine with us!"

Hodge also runs a separate but related monthly program called "PopUp Broadway," which features popular show tunes.

Interested? The next PopUp Chorus event will take place December 20 with a holiday theme: They'll be doing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You' and 'Last Christmas' by Wham, along with bonus numbers 'Let it Snow' and 'Winter Wonderland'. Come join the fun!
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