A special kind of community chorus, Voices of Hope, performed in Naperville Sunday to show that while cancer changes the life of those it touches, so too does music.
Voices of Hope is comprised of members of the Naperville Men's Glee Club and other singers who have been affected in some way by cancer -- as a patient, a relative, a friend or a caretaker. The chorus performed Sunday in front of a full house at North Central College's Wentz Hall.
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The group was convened in part as a way to mark the glee club's 25th anniversary.
"We wanted to do something special, something that would give back to the community that has supported us all these years," glee club member Tom Harle said immediately before the show. "We thought, cancer touches so many different people, and in different ways. And music can be such a powerful form of comfort. This seemed like a good way to bring hope to people who have gone through something very difficult."
Hale said he didn't feel any unusual preshow jitters, but he expected to be moved once the performance got under way.
"I know when we go out onstage in front of that full house, it's going to give me chills," he said. "I'm getting them now, just thinking about it."
Voices of Hope performed a variety of songs Sunday, including Bruno Mars' "Count on Me" and the 1980s hit "Africa," by the group Toto. Also part of Sunday's program were solo performances by the glee club and the Young Naperville Singers' Boys Choir.
Naperville Mayor George Pradel spoke to the crowd after the first few songs.
"If you need a lift, you'll definitely find one here!" he said. "Sitting in the front row, I got goose bumps listening to this music."
Carly Zabinski attended the show with her young son. Her husband, Larry Zabinski, is a Voices of Hope singer and a cancer survivor; Larry was diagnosed 10 years ago with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.
"It's amazing to see him sing now," said Carly. "We started dating shortly after he finished chemo, and at the time we didn't know how long we'd have together. We look at every day of good health as a gift."