A Brief History of the Edgewater Singers
Edgewater Singers is a community choral ensemble whose mission derives from the roots of the word amateur, or lover. The members sing together for the love of music, have stayed together for more than twenty-five years for the love of one another, and perform for the love of the Edgewater community. We began as a group of five friends who decided one wintry evening in the early 1980's that they would love to entertain friends during the holiday season by caroling. Over the next few years, several concerts were held for friends and family, and more singers joined in the chorus. In December of 1984, eleven singers engaged another four friends for a holiday program, followed by an expanded program in the spring of 1985. Thus began a tradition of offering at least two free concerts each year to the residents of Edgewater and the larger Chicago area public (one holiday concert and one spring concert), and two free concerts for the benefit of community members who would otherwise not be able to attend the regular concerts.
In its nascent stage, Edgewater Singers' performances were held salon style in member's homes; however, as the ensemble and its audience grew, performances were held at Mundelein College, the Broadway Armory and various Edgewater churches. Member dues provided the funds necessary to cover the cost of scores and donations to performance venues; volunteer assistance was a hallmark of the ensemble. Various singers have prepared scores, press releases, flyers and printed program design.
Diane Aitken joined the Edgewater Singers for the 1984 holiday concert as accompanist, and stayed with the group for twenty-one years, creating the concert programs and leading the singers in rehearsals and concerts as Director. Upon Ms. Aitken's retirement following the 2006 spring concert, Joseph Sablan, a chorus member since 2000, took up the baton to lead the singers for the next four years. When Mr. Sablan retired in May of 2010 and left Illinois, the group was unable to find another volunteer director.
In June of 2010, the members gathered to discuss the future of the Edgewater Singers, and decided to increase member dues to allow for the hiring of a new director, file for corporate status, and pursue a 501(c)(3) designation. A committee was formed, a search was conducted, and interview auditions were held over the summer of 2010. The members agreed that Michael Oriatti was to be the new Music Director, and in 2012, he was appointed Artistic Director. Mr. Oriatti continued his search for a full-time teaching position, and was hired by an Arkansas college in January of 2013. Philip Seward took over the baton for the 2013 spring concert, and was appointed Artistic Director in May of 2013.