VoiceGivers performing inaugural concert at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Mix a professional singer and a nonprofit executive and there can only really be one result – giving back to the community through the joy of music.

VoiceGivers, a chamber choir formed specifically to raise awareness of local social and economic issues, will premiere at 4 p.m. Oct. 13 at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.

Proceeds of the first concert will benefit the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, a Fox Chapel-based group that nurtures families dealing with life-limiting illnesses.

The concert is free but donations are accepted.

Behind the notes are Joe Stuligross, director of the University Singers at Duquesne University, and Deb Sadowski, Executive in Residence for The Forbes Funds.

“The goal of VoiceGivers is to inspire people to understand a highlighted need through music and to be energized to find a way to help make a difference,” Sadowski said.

Launched this fall, the innovative performances will benefit local charities. The yearlong theme will focus on “Help and Hope for Vulnerable Children.”

Each concert will include a full choral program as well as vignettes spotlighting the mission and programs of groups like Holy Family Institute and Wilkinsburg Community Ministry.

“One neat thing is that this is an entirely new kind of fundraising concept. The musical programs are integrated with the mission of each non-profit,” Sadowski said.

Stuligross said the excitement of the music will follow an emotional arc interspersed with talk about the issues and work that each nonprofit does to address them.

“We help tell the story of a particular social problem through music,” he said.

The approach is aimed at engaging audiences more deeply with the mission, he said. And, it makes his job, as well as the performances, exciting and relevant, he said.

A veteran performer, Stuligross has sung with The Mendelssohn Choir and Pittsburgh Camerata, and currently directs the Waverly Presbyterian Church Choir.

He said VoiceGivers was spurred by a desire to use his abilities, and Sadowski’s, to make beautiful music and help make the world a better place.

Sadowski devised the idea of integrating powerful music into a presentation in hopes of connecting and inspiring people.

“The VoiceGivers name describes both the giving nature of any artistic enterprise as well as the way that we encourage audiences to come to performances in a spirit of giving and community,” Stuligross said.

It appears their efforts are successful even before the first concert.

The group was notified this week that it won the Awesome Pittsburgh September grant of $1,000.

Awesome Pittsburgh gives money to people with good ideas. Money is meant to help flesh out the ideas and make Pittsburgh stand out as a better place to live, work and play.

For more, visit voicegiverschoir.org.