MANVILLE, NJ - Rise Up Chorus is the recipient of a $500 donation from the Valairco Cares program. 

Valairco Heating and Cooling started the Valairco Cares program to celebrate their 50 years in business and has continued to give back to the communities they serve well into their 52nd year. Every quarter, they donate $500 to a nonprofit or charity based on the desire of their customers, friends and interested parties. 

Kevin McHugh, Owner of Valairco Heating and Cooling, recently presented a check for $500 to Rise Up Chorus Founder and Artistic Director Matthew LaPine, Maryanne McGuire and Angela Dohl. 

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Rise Up Chorus came about to fill a void in the community. LaPine, who lives in Metuchen, wanted to create a chorus that is community focussed.  Music brings people together in a way that nothing else on earth can do, he said. 

Founded in 2016, LaPine said this chorus "brings community together and uses music to do that. -- There really wasn't anyone doing exactly this type of model. -- Other community choruses, their focuses is on they're working toward a performance, and that's great. Our focus is, while we do work toward performance, our focus is on community building, and really getting the community together and on the people. And then the music comes out of that. And I was convinced that we could do it without compromising the integrity of the music. And I think we've done a pretty"

Right before their in person sessions shut down due to COVID-19, "we had just over 60 people registered involved with the adult chorus and about a dozen in the youth chorus."

During the pandemic, the group of singers continues to get together virtually and haven't missed one day. They are preparing for a performance coming up on December 19 that will be live-streamed and recorded. "Everyone is doing recordings from their individual home, and then we will put it together," said LaPine. For more information visit their website www.riseupchorus.org.

"One of the things for us is not just meeting for the rehearsals, but the community is the biggest thing. And we try to do social events," the group told TAPinto. They recently went out as a group to a comedy show and on another occasion, they went to Old York Cellars Winery in Ringoes for a wine night outside on the patio. 

The group has three sessions a year and people can join when it fits their schedule. Each session is about three or four months long.

The chorus is tuition free and relies on donations and grants. The Valarico Cares donation will go towards their operating expenses that include purchasing music, insurance and equipment.

"It's really important to us to make sure we can continue to be tuition free and audition free because you want everybody to feel welcome," said LaPine.

To learn more about the Rise Up Chorus visit their website www.riseupchorus.org.

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To learn more about Valairco Heating and Cooling and the Valairco Cares program, visit their website www.valairco.com. 

Click here to cast your vote for your favorite charity to be the recipient of the next Valairco Cares donation.