Fans of choral singing will have a chance to explore some of the great repertoire, as the Oakland Symphony Chorus hosts a series of Summer Sing-Ins with different conductors each Wednesday night, through the middle of August. In the first one of this season, which happened last week, Arnold Lee, assistant conductor of the chorus, led a rehearsal of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor.

You can find out more about the upcoming Summer Sing-Ins at the Oakland Symphony website.

“It’s a little bit like drive-by singing,” Lee explains. “Great works of art, often oratorios, like the Messiah… and people just come and for an evening they try their best and have a lot of fun while doing that.” There’s a wide range of experience in the singers participating. “People are there to enjoy themselves, but they also perhaps sometimes want to be pushed… A lot of people this is their first time through it. Some people might have sung this twenty times. There are people who go to a Messiah sing every year for fifty years. Yet you still want to not just go through the motions of that.” The repertoire includes Faure’s Requiem and Boito’s Mefistofele Prologue tonight with Michael Morgan; on the 24th, William Sauerland conducts for choruses from Handel’s Messiah; Lynn Morrow, who is the Symphony Chorus conductor leads Verdi’s Requiem on July 31st; there’s Durufle’s Requiem and Bach’s B Minor Mass Choruses with Robert Geary on August 7th, and the final Sing-In is Derek Tam leading Handel’s Israel in Egypt.  Tickets are $15, and the scores are provided for the rehearsals. Lee says many singers come to all of them, others just come for their favorites. “The word amateur gets a bad rap. Really at the heart is the passion… and so they’re fighting Bay Area traffic after a long day at work, most likely, coming here to perform for one night something that’s over 200 years old. Which is kind of crazy, when you think about it.”