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Get to Know Austin’s Community Choir: Panoramic Voices

The spirit of community is infectious within this local choir

Panoramic Voices
Panoramic Voices (photo by Catherine-Spainhour)

The local community choir, Panoramic Voices, was left lost in the Spring of 2022. After the departure of an artistic director and a substantial hiatus, the future of the long-standing ensemble was unclear.

Yet, when an opportunity to sing alongside the Central Texas Philharmonic presented itself, the choir, driven by resilience and a commitment to community-driven music, found itself a new rhythm.

Juli Orlandini, a gigging singer herself and an esteemed choir enthusiast, stepped forward with an eager attitude to transition from her interim position, into the sole staff member left with the responsibility of directing an ensemble of 150 voices.

As a no-audition choir, this choral group genuinely welcomes everyone, and each performance showcases a diverse composition of all age groups and musical backgrounds, aligning perfectly with Orlandini’s vision of valuing the “process as much as the product.”

Juli Orlandini

Practice Doesn’t Have To Make Perfect

“Our niche is community. Our niche is fun,” said Orlandini expressing that she’s always viewed this group as an opportunity to educate others musically rather than a pressing performance to perfect.

“Something that’s been really successful with Panoramic is a ten percent less focus on this concert needs to be perfect and so much more on how can we make this a well-rounded performance.” With this fresh perspective, she believes the choir has found itself embraced with incredibly dedicated participants and a warm response from the community.

“The sound ends up being comparable to an auditioned choir because people are doing it for joyful reasons,” explained Orlandini.

Panoramic Voices (photo by Brian Whillock)

A Group Effort

Inspiration is everywhere — even beneath bed frames.

“There are boxes of music under my bed,” shares Orlandini when asked about where she finds inspiration for future projects.

Though this choir junkie has “a mile-long bucket list” of musical exploration to dig through, she says that oftentimes selecting music or themes for a concert is a collaborative journey with the other artists involved.

Currently, the choir works with local section leaders, accompanists, and composers for each concert, showcasing a flexible and modern approach to artistic leadership.

Panoramic Voices (photo by Brian Whillock)

“That spirit of community is infectious,” she explains, acknowledging the invaluable support from surrounding local choirs and even commending KMFA, Austin’s Classical Music Radio Station, for their constant presence at Panoramic Voices’ concerts. “I think we owe fifty percent of our success to the hard work that that organization does.”

Looking ahead, the choir has exciting ventures on the horizon, such as travel to New York City to perform Mozart’s “Requiem” at Carnegie Hall. Locals can also enjoy this performance at the Downtown Public Library on May 17.

Interested in attending a show or joining the chorus? Visit their website for more info.