Musical choruses are often seen on Sundays during religious services and bring so much joy to parishioners. On holidays and special occasions, choir members sing songs in unison and harmony adding a magical touch to an important day. Erica Reeves, who directs several choruses, who sang since the age of six, who is an accomplished soloist, loves to create and direct choirs. Reeves has an impressive musical background. When she attended boarding school at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania, she sang and traveled with the Pine Forge Academy Concert Choir. As a college student at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, she sang in the Oakwood’s Concert Choir, The Aeolians.
Now Reeves is engaging in one of the most fulfilling experiences of her musical career as a choir director for Beyond The Eyes, a multicultural organization for blind and visually impaired individuals. The members of Beyond The Eyes Choir practice at Main Newark Public Library for an hour on the last Friday of each month.
“My goals for the group, Beyond The Eyes are to teach them vocal techniques,” Reeves said. “I want them to feel the music as they sing to the congregation.”
Beyond The Eyes is the fourth choir that Reeves has directed. She faces challenges as she teaches the choir members who are blind and visually impaired since they are not able to see the hand signals that she uses. She feels that these obstacles can be overcome. Reeves said that she uses creative methods to help the members of Beyond The Eyes learn the lyrics and vocal techniques. Despite the obstacles, Reeves is very excited about this opportunity and believes many will be blessed and enlightened through the ministry of Beyond The Eyes.
“Eyes aren’t needed to sing. You need ears to hear, a mouth to form the notes, and a heart to feel the message,” she said.
Beyond the Eyes Choir will have their debut performance this spring; they will sing two or three selections from the genres of gospel, classical and Broadway. Reeves said the singing group will also be performing at different churches throughout the year.
“The members of the choir have spirits that are so giving,” she said. “Since they are blind, they see life in a different way. I cannot wait to see how they will interpret the music.”