By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – It could be said that lifelong Westborough resident Deb Lukey has music in her blood. Her mother is a pianist and her father a “great music appreciator.” Her godfather, Gilbert Grove, conducted the Anniversary Chorus (which was established temporarily in the late 60s to celebrate Westborough's bicentennial) and he conducted the 100th Town Chorus as well. When Lukey was a child, there were always small madrigal groups or bands practicing at the house. She began playing the piano when she was just 5 and continued taking lessons until she graduated from college. Growing up, she was surrounded by and loved music.
Lukey attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Vir.?She studied music education there for three years but, ultimately, graduated with a degree in business administration. In the late “80s and early “90s, she played piano for the Westborough School system.?Throughout her adult years, Lukey has worked with many conductors and groups. She is currently the office manager for Framingham Dental Group.
Lukey was a member of the Congregational Church of Westborough. She sang in the choir as a child (grade one through high school) and again after graduating from college. It was there that she met Faith Newark, who was both the church choir director and also director of the Westborough Community Chorus (WCC). When the pianist for the WCC had to leave in 2001, Newark asked Lukey to become the accompanist (for the chorus). Later that year when Newark lost her battle with cancer, Lukey was asked to lead the chorus for her funeral service.
In July of 2002, Lukey became conductor for the Westborough Community Chorus. The WCC consists ?of about 90 members who hail from many different communities and range in age from early 20s to 80-plus-year-olds. The group has a full-time pianist, Jim Duncan, and they supplement their shows with a drummer and a bass guitarist.
“It's a very special group of people that I consider family,” Lukey said. “We are a group of people who love to entertain and support each other as well as supporting the young musicians in our community.”
Besides entertaining their audiences, Lukey said that the most important thing that the chorus does is provide scholarships to Westborough middle school and high school students for their private music instruction.?
“It's what I’m very proud of,” Lukey said. “We give as many scholarships as we can support.?Last year we were able to give out 12 scholarships.”
As conductor, Lukey chooses all the music that the chorus performs. She enjoys conducting all kinds of music and enjoys exploring new rhythms and harmonies.
“I love helping people understand the music they are singing, and I really enjoy just making music. I just love the joy that music can bring to both the people that come to our concerts and the people that sing in the chorus,” Lukey said. “Especially when the chorus as a group doesn's think they can do it, and then we accomplish it together.”
The community chorus will be performing its Christmas show Nov. 30, and Dec. 1 and 2 at the Gibbons Middle School.?On Sept. 15, members will hold a yard sale, one of their biggest fundraisers, at the Harvey Building on Phillips Street.
Anyone interested in joining the choir is welcome to do so; no audition is necessary (if you love to sing, you'se in!). The choir is currently in need of altos, basses, sopranos and tenors. Additionally, non-singing volunteers (stage, costumes, advertising, set building and muscle) are welcome to join.
Rehearsals are held Monday evenings from 7:30 to 9 pm. at the Westborough Senior Center, 4 Rogers Road.
For more information on the Westborough Community Chorus, visit ?http://www.westborough.com/communitychorus/join-us/index.html.