"It is fantastic," she said. "I can't even describe anything else in my life that's even close to it."
She's gotten to share that passion firsthand with her students, who performed with Albany Pro Musica at Troy Music Hall in April as part of the group's "Adopt a Choir" program.
Derrick said performing at the music hall was a thrill, and she's equally excited about taking the stage at the meetinghouse.
"It's such a unique little place," she said. "There's not anything else like it in the area."
Derrick is also looking forward to reaching out to people with a different style of music.
"It's territory we're not used to," she said.
The concert offers a rare chance for chorus members to "show off," according to Leonard, with several having solos or singing in small groups. Derrick will perform a duet of "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera" and be part of a quartet singing "Route 66."
"I love the jazz style," she said.
Leonard, meanwhile, still sings with the group, which she joined in 1997 after moving to the Capital District. For the cabaret show, she will duet on "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better."
Griggs-Janower, who also serves as the director of choral music and teaches at the University at Albany, said the chorus has toyed with the idea of a pops concert for a while, with some fans of the group urging one.
"I think they're looking forward to hearing pop music done at the level we usually perform at," he said.
The show should also be a treat for Albany Pro Musica's members, he said.
"We spent so much time trying to do classical music," he said. "This is a chance to reminds ourselves we can loosen up. It really gives them an outlet."
Admission is $10, or $5 for students. Leonard advised people to buy tickets early as a big crowd is expected. They are available on Albany Pro Musica's web site www.albanypromusica.org. Food and drinks will be available.
The meetinghouse is at 875 Watervliet Shaker Road, Colonie. For information on the meetinghouse and the Shaker Heritage Society, visit www.shakerheritage.org.""