It seems like yesterday.
About nine years ago, Stephen and I were out for dinner and drinks in Andersonville, just north of downtown Chicago. As usual, we talked about everything going on in our lives and our future together. We were so happy, and the conversation was flowing.
Stephen had mentioned many, many times that he wished he had his own chorus where he could do what he wanted musically and have the ability to control the environment. He wanted to ensure that his chorus was filled with people who were positive in their approach to music and to the people around them. He wanted to have people that exuded happiness and love … and joy!
I have always been Stephen’s biggest fan (besides his Mom and Dad, of course) and I knew that not only was his dream a great idea but something he needed to do.
With a simple response to his dreaming on and on about his perfect chorus, I said:
“Well then, do it!”
And he did! We did!
Allegrezza means "joyfulness" in Italian. I remember when Stephen asked me what I thought of the name. I immediately loved it. It made sense, and it fits like a glove with the mission and values of what he wanted to create. Our group would be called Allegrezza, and our jobs would be to embody our name and live our mission of joy, community, and giving back.
From the very first conversations, we have always wanted to be a chorus that gives back to our community. We wanted to not just ask for money to help support our singing but to ask for support to show our commitment to other organizations in our neighborhoods and our city. Over the past five years, we have been able to donate thousands of dollars to area charities, and nothing makes us more proud.
To this day, we give back 20% of all proceeds from our concerts to a local charity partner.
Stephen has the ability to make things happen out of pure positivity. It is his true gift. From the start, people have willingly and eagerly helped Allegrezza with rehearsal spaces at no charge. Musicians and accompanists have donated their time or offered us incredible rates. And our early audience members came to see a brand new choir and left as fans!
Second only to that gift is Stephen’s ability to teach. I am always in awe and fall in love with him again and again when I get to see him lead Allegrezza in rehearsal or at a performance. Stephen emotes joy out of every one of his pores… you can see it in his face. There is nothing in the world that makes him happier. The fact that I get to be part of this is something I cherish.
Stephen leads the way with his artistic vision, as I support with the business management to make sure we grow on a solid foundation and support the growth that we both just knew would happen! And it has!
We now have a full board of directors that are dedicated to the organization and our growth. They are not just our board — they are our friends and confidants that we value enormously. We have volunteers that are ready when needed and a loyal band of fans that we love to see in our audiences on a regular basis. We have a solid financial footing, excellent systems in place to keep things operating smoothly, performances that keep improving, and audiences that keep keep expanding.
Most important, we have a group of singers, musicians, friends, and family who come to rehearsal every week to spend time together creating music. They are the heart of the organization and because of them, we are the chorus that gives back — the chorus that spreads love, community, and joyfulness.
We are incredibly grateful.
In Allegrezza Stephen and I, along with our singers, have been able to create “Allegrezza” in our own way. We cannot wait for what lies ahead for our group. I have no doubt it will be incredible.