Roberta Kirn’s most important mentor is Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, with whom she began studying in 1994, taking her workshop “Building a Vocal Community.” Shortly after, Roberta began inviting friends to her home to sing, using material she had learned from Ysaye. She later became involved with founding the Charter School and singing with the school community, including teachers, students, and parents. Roberta taught at the Charter School for 10 years, and continued to study with Ysaye, but also worked with a number of other wonderful choral directors including Bobby McFerrin, Melanie DeMore, and Nick Page (who recently hosted one of Roberta’s popular Community Sing events).
As a teacher at the Charter School, Roberta led weekly songs at the morning all-school meeting and at monthly Community Sings, her all-ages event that invites the public to get together and sing. She has led the monthly Community Sing events for 16 years, and this December will mark the 15th annual “Winter Concert: Songs of Peace, Hope and Light.”
Roberta has been directing and producing the Winter Concert, which has historically featured the sounds of the Charter School Community Chorus, a group she originally named, which is made up of between 30 and 40 singers of all ages. Now no longer teaching at the Charter School, Roberta is renaming the chorus the Martha’s Vineyard Family Chorus, and she hopes to attract more family groups and to create a broader reach for her Island-wide singing project.
To prepare for the Winter Concert, the Martha’s Vineyard Family Chorus will gather and rehearse on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, beginning on Nov. 4 and continuing until the performance on Sunday, Dec. 21. Rehearsals will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Society Chapel in Vineyard Haven. The only requirement is that all participants love to sing. For additional information, contact Roberta at 774-563-0318.