Choral Consortium of San Diego founder and La Jolla resident Carol Manifold is dedicated to bringing music to the masses. Despite having never been a professional musician, Manifold currently sings with the La Jolla Symphony Chorus and Pacific Women’s Chorus; is on the board of the chamber choir SACRA/PROFANA; and is president of the Choral Consortium. The latter of which brings together as many choirs as possible, and the standing number is 57 from across San Diego County. And the latest project brings in a steady San Diego staple: craft beer.
What is Beer Choir about?
“The Consortium does different programs for different audiences. For example, San Diego Sings is for the public as a gift to the community to expose people to all these groups. But then, Beer Choir is a national movement, as we started a chapter here because San Diego has such a booming craft beer industry and we have the ability to offer singing opportunities for different choral members. We perform in different breweries across San Diego. We don’t have rehearsals and it is not the same people every time, it’s whoever wants to show up. ... The next one is going to be led by the interim director for La Jolla Symphony & Chorus and the theme is ‘Oktoberfest in March.’ ”
Explain more about the Choral Consortium.
“We put together a calendar that has the concerts of our member choirs from all over the County. People can find out what is happening on any given weekend. There is a list of our member choirs, which is great because a lot of people don’t know exactly how many choirs there are. We do an annual movie sing-along, which is very family-friendly. The last one we did was ‘The Greatest Showman,” and it was just packed. The kids loved it. We also take trips to places like L.A. to see the caliber of performance and venue we don’t quite have here, so they have something to aim for. The Consortium is at the heart of all of this, bringing our choral proponents together to promote this art for all types of skill levels in the community, which makes it better for all of us.”
How did you get involved in choir groups?
“My grandmother was a church choir director in the little town where we lived. So it is has been instilled in me from my youth. I also sang at Point Loma High School, and the choirs there were a refuge for me. High school (years) were a difficult time for me, and my family and the singing were really life-savers. I found that a choir is an important thing to have in my life — and that story is not unique to me, a lot of people have had that experience.”
Who were some of your early influences?
“My grandmother was the key person. She wanted to be a professional singer, but grew up very poor and did not have access to transportation and resources. She was very involved with the church, and at one point, she pulled me aside and said she thought she would live on in her children and her grandchildren. She said I was the music part of her that would live on. That was a huge moment for me. What a responsibility! I adored her and she was a wonderful role model, and I don’t do what I do because of an obligation to her, but I am glad I can do this as an extension of her.”
What do you listen to in the car?
“It’s funny, a lot of people think singers sing all the time, but I hardly ever sing (when I’m not in a choir). I don’t sing in the shower, I don’t sing in the car. But I like to listen to a little jazz or Motown or Broadway.”
Was music always in your future?
“Although I’m retired, I am still a licensed pharmacist. I had a choice to go down the science path or the arts path. I tried to do both as much as possible, but because I needed to support myself, I didn’t see doing that in the arts, so I chose a career in the science field.
I was a speaker at a summer choral intensive program SACRA/PROFANA does for high school students. I was the example of someone who did not choose music as a profession. The question that kept coming up is: ‘How do you know if you should make the commitment to go into music?’ The answer from Juan Carlos Acosta, the artistic director of SACRA/PROFANA was: ’You should go into music if you just can’t imagine doing anything else. Otherwise, don’t go into it because it is going to be too hard to make a living and be independent as an artist.’ People who are called to it, should do it.”
— You can learn more at choralconsortiumofsandiego.org
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