Wednesday, May 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on March 15th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 2

Coastal Voices holds annual benefit Spaghetti dinner with karaoke


Every year at the annual Spaghetti and Song event put on by Santa Maria’s only community choir, the Coastal Voices, members usually entertain throughout the evening. But choir members won’t get to hog the microphone all night at this year’s event.

For the first time, the fundraiser dinner event will feature karaoke, so attendees can join in the music making, choir member or not. The event has also moved to a new, larger venue, explained Coastal Voices board president and choir member Juliann Hemphill, so more people can attend and sing some karaoke too.

The Coastal Voices is Santa Maria’s community choir, unaffiliated with any specific church or school choir, where locals get to sing and preserve choral music.

“I’m excited this year for the changes,” Hemphill said. “And with the karaoke, I think that will be fun for our singers and our guests because it opens up another avenue for vocal expression.”

The Coastal Voices is all about vocal expression. The community choir organized officially as a nonprofit in 2004 with the express purpose of allowing locals a welcome and open choir to sing in, and to preserve choral music in the valley.

The choir is about as community as it gets. It’s not an audition choir, Hemphill said, and the spaghetti dinner is the only fundraiser it does each year.

“We definitely take all comers and work with them to develop their vocal qualities,” she said. “We love vocal music and love supporting vocal music in the community.”

Members of the choir like Sondra Smith, who also serves on the board of the Coastal Voices, have been involved with the chorus since its inception.

The Coastal Voices’ annual Spaghetti and Song (past event pictured) always includes performances by choir members, but this year’s event features karaoke, and everyone can sing.

Smith said that the choir is an edifying organization to be a part of because it gives her a constant creative outlet with friends.

“It’s very significant and important to me, the fact that I can sing in a group, it’s joyful and uplifting,” Smith said. “And to entertain my community, to contribute to the artistic endeavors in the community, is enjoyable as well.”

Coastal Voices members will get to share their skills solo, as well as in small groups, during the karaoke at the Spaghetti and Song event on March 18. There will also be two songs performed by the whole choir, Hemphill explained.

The two songs are programmed for the choir’s annual spring concert happening May 20 and 22 this year, which will feature music of the 1950s. The spaghetti dinner serves as a fun teaser for the upcoming concert, Hemphill said.

“We’re doing some really fun things,” she said, “it will be great.”

Support the choir
The Coastal Voices community choir present the ninth annual Spaghetti and Song fundraiser event on March 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Elwin Mussell Senior Center, 510 E. Park, Santa Maria. Cost is $15, kids 12 and younger eat free. More info: 517-4645 or

The other great thing about the fundraiser is actually the spaghetti, Hemphill added.

“Well, we like to consider ourselves a gourmet spaghetti dinner,” she said. “I believe our spaghetti is coming from VTC this year, but it comes in a good meat sauce and we serve some bread and salad, and then a cupcake, so it’s fun.”

Managing Editor Joe Payne sang next to the Coastal Voices years ago while a music student at Allan Hancock College. Contact him at

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