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Albany Pro Musica goes pop

"We see it as a natural oasis," she said, adding that the heritage society takes great pride in the meetinghouse's place in history. Located on land that was considered home to the first Shaker settlement in the country, the building was central to a group of people who envisioned a utopian society.

"They had a tremendous influence on decorative arts and music," D'Angelo said.

While she hopes that the concert will pique people's interest in the Shakers and the meetinghouse, Griggs-Janower similarly hopes it will create some new Albany Pro Musica fans.

"It might introduce us to some people who wouldn't come out for Bach," he said with a laugh.

That's not to say Albany Pro Musica's regular repertoire lacks an audience. Back in 1981, some friends approached Griggs-Janower about forming a chamber choir since there wasn't one in the Capital District.

"I was always game to start something," Griggs-Janower said.

There were two things that set the group apart: its small size and the quality of the singers. Although Albany Pro Musica is a volunteer group, music is a career for many members, who teach and direct throughout the area.

"They just simply have music as their passion," Leonard said.

"It's not a social group," Griggs-Janower said. "It's a musical group. These people really devote themselves."

One of the devotees is Ann Derrick, a soprano who directs the choirs at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. After majoring in voice and piano in college, Derrick did some teaching, then branched out into performing. She was in a number of theatrical shows around the country before settling in New York City. She met her husband there and they later moved to the Capital District, where Derrick heard about Albany Pro Musica through friends.

"I thought, 'This would be fun,' " she said, and her four years with the group have proved to be just that. Derrick said she thrives on the passion everyone brings to Albany Pro Musica.

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