By Emma Wolff
Though there was a global pandemic, 2020 was a big year in the music industry: Taylor swift won the most American Music Awards of all time, Elton John performed at the Oscars, and Arizona’s own Upscale Singers started a YouTube music video series. Although Upscale Singers, a Scottsdale-based nonprofit choir, had to put live performances on hold due to the pandemic, they are still finding ways to bring music into the lives of locals thanks to technology.
The Upscale Singers started a YouTube channel to share music videos with their fans in the absence of live performances. In the last few months, they have released several themed songs and a tribute to the Broadway show, Mama Mia.
“This past year was a time of new experiences, so why not learn how to be a music videographer?” says Margaret Watson, director of Upscale Singers. “We scripted, choreographed and filmed all of the music videos on our own. We had a fun time putting it together and the best part is we were able to deliver music to the Valley in a safe way.”
Not only have the Upscale Singers been creating music during the pandemic, the organization has also been donating scholarships to young singers and to local music programs.
The Cheryl Siebs Memorial Vocal Scholarship was recently awarded to several high school juniors and seniors to pay for the advancement of their musical careers with professional vocal lessons. In the fall, the Upscale Singers also awarded local music teachers with grants to help purchase music supplies. Additionally, each year the organization sends a handful of children with cognitive or physical disabilities to the Arizona Magic of Music and Dance camp.
“When I was younger, I participated in a local singers’ foundation and won my first vocal award. It meant so much to me that someone, besides my parents, saw my potential and talent. This experience drove me to continue music and instilled a passion to help young singers in any way I can,” says Watson.
With the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree, Upscale Singers will continue to fund these outreach programs, even though most of their fundraising performances have been paused.
Although last year was hard for many residents in the Valley, according to Watson, Upscale Singers did their best to keep a positive attitude and to remain involved in the community. “We’ve leaned on one another through the hard times and the shared love for music bonded us more now than ever. This program provides a unique experience to create friendships, share talents and bond with a wonderful community of people through the art of musical performance,” she says.
To find their music videos go to their YouTube channel, Upscale SingersAZ.
If you have interest in joining the Upscale Singers, the group will be holding auditions for both their main choir and Upscale Kids in the fall. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website at upscalesingers.com, or call at 480-575-0188.