Connect: Two Sisters Share Across the Miles

Longtime SFBC Alto Barbara Livermore and her sister Audrey have been enjoying the SF Bach Choir together for over four decades, despite living over 750 miles apart.

“I’ve always admired everything my big sister Barbara did, and I’ve followed her dedication to SFBC from afar,” says Audrey, who lives in Seattle but has traveled to the Bay Area to attend many of Barbara’s SFBC concerts. Barbara’s devotion to SFBC is unparalleled: she has been singing with SFBC for nearly 43 years, beginning under founding director Waldemar Jacobsen. She commutes nearly 200 miles from Sacramento every week to attend rehearsals and concerts. Barbara has seen many changes in SFBC over the years, but continues to sing with SFBC for a very simple reason: “it is a great choir.”

For Audrey, the ability to participate from her home in Seattle in SFBC’s online Many Voices, One Art Saturday workshops has been a special experience. Crucial spirit-lifters for her during the pandemic, “the weekly Saturday sessions were vital, invigorating, and wonderful,” says Audrey. “As an educator, I loved learning about and being exposed to all the variety of music, from Keith Terry to Melanie DeMore and everything in between.” The workshops were a rare silver lining resulting from Covid’s challenges, and Audrey looks forward to future online sessions: “I always want more Saturdays!”

When the choir finally was able to gather in person last October after a year and a half, Barbara admits she was reluctant at first to come to sing. But the joy of being together again “transformed my experience. I could really hear the other voices around me, and there was a camaraderie and cohesiveness of the group that was worth it.” Next season, Barbara is excited to sing Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and is intrigued to learn more about the music of Central and South America in October. And, she is looking forward to the day when she can sing again–without a mask!

Barbara and Audrey appreciate not only SFBC’s long history with the music of Bach, but the variety of music programmed by Artistic Director Magen Solomon, whose energy, creativity, and dynamism infuses everything SFBC does. Though the pandemic has kept them apart for over 3 years, Audrey is especially grateful for SFBC’s pandemic-inspired online workshops and concerts, and Barbara is happy to be back singing and sharing the music she loves.