North River Sing is a community chorus based in Jersey City devoted to the Great American Songbook. To spice things up, we sing an occasional folk or R&B tune, too. Founded in 2014, NRS is a place where friends and neighbors in and around Jersey City can form lasting bonds singing this incredible repertoire as a community.
North River is the Dutch nickname for that part of the Hudson River that lies between New Jersey and Manhattan. As such, we thought it the perfect expression of both our Jersey roots and our Broadway vibe!
We’re a motley crew! Our members include social workers in their 20s, techies in their 30s, lawyers, writers, artists, administrators, scientists, secretaries, nurses, retirees, men, women … you name it. We reflect lots of different cultural and racial backgrounds, political stripes, sexual orientations, and gender identities, too. We are sorry to say one has to be at least 18 years old to join NRS.
While some members have virtuosic voices and extensive musical training, most of us came to NRS simply having sung in our high school or college choir. But no prior choral experience is necessary at all for membership. Plenty of us had sung only in the shower!
Except during the summer and holidays, we rehearse Sundays from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, which is just blocks from the Grove Street PATH station.
We have two seasons: Fall (September–January) and Spring (February–June) and perform roughly four concerts per year. Our gigs consist of roughly 15 songs most of which we sing SSATB (or five-part harmony). We offer opportunities for those looking to solo or be part of a smaller ensemble as well.
Main stage performances also take place at St. Matthew’s. We’ve also sung in museums, public plazas, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and community centers all around Northern New Jersey and Manhattan.
To help you learn your notes, each week you will receive electronic recordings of each song played in your vocal part. Members should expect to spend at least an hour per week on this preparation. Rehearsals are a ton of fun, but members who find they lack the time for homework may struggle to enjoy rehearsals and keep up.
Finances should never hinder a singer from joining NRS! While members pay seasonal dues of $225 (to cover our operating expenses), we happily offer payment plans and all levels of financial aid up to 100 percent. For information on either of these programs, please contact us.
Conrad Chu, Artistic Director
With more than 20 years of deep and varied directing experience, Music Director Conrad Chu has worked with ensembles of all sizes, including college choruses, community orchestras, and small opera companies. Before the pandemic he served as lecturer in choral and orchestral music and director of performance at Union College of Schenectady, New York, where he directed both the Union College Chorale and the Union College & Community Orchestra. Conrad’s recent engagements have included serving as guest choral director for the New Jersey Symphony’s annual Chinese New Year gala concert in 2019 and 2020. In 2018, Conrad led the premiere of a one-act opera based on the Grimms’ fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin for Manhattan’s Rhymes With Opera and directed the operetta Patience for the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.
For ten years Conrad was the choral director at Eugene Lang College of The New School in New York, where he also established a community orchestra called the New School Arts Ensemble. He also held the post of assistant conductor for three seasons with Gotham Chamber Opera and made guest appearances with American Opera Projects, Beth Morrison Prototype Festival, Opera on Tap, Brooklyn Repertory Opera, Bronx Opera, and Victory Hall Opera.
In fall 2019 he was privileged to make his debut with Santa Fe Opera as assistant music director for the premier of Augusta Road Thomas’s children’s opera Sweet Potato in the Sun.
A graduate of Yale University, Conrad earned his master’s degree in conducting from Mannes School of Music at The New School and attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio for doctoral work in contemporary music.
Ian Kenselaar, Bassist
While still in the very early phase of his career as a jazz bassist, Ian Kenselaar has already had close associations with a host of prominent jazz artists, working in both professional and educational contexts. In addition to his regular work with J.D. Allen as a member of Allen’s trio, Ian has performed extensively with master drummer Winard Harper as well as with such artists as Steve Davis, Vincent Ector, Slide Hampton, Freddie Hendrix, Vic Juris, the Christian McBride Big Band, David Murray, and Wallace Roney. Since 2017, Ian has worked at the Princeton University jazz program under the direction of Rudresh Mahanthappa.
Isaac Ezekiel, Pianist
As a freelance artist, Isaac Ezekiel performs and teaches regularly throughout the Greater New York City area. A graduate of New Jersey City University with a bachelor’s in music education, he is conversant in multiple genres including classical, jazz, contemporary, and theatre. Isaac is affiliated with multiple grade schools, bands, churches, and universities throughout New York and New Jersey. In his spare time, he provides audio-visual engineering and video editing assistance to various schools, DJ’s and corporations across the tri-state area.
Errold Lanier, Jr., Percussionist
Percussionist and Jersey City native Errold Lanier, Jr. attended McNair High School and graduated from its program in the visual and performing arts. Upon graduation Errold studied jazz at William Patterson University where in 2012 he was named a New Jersey Jazz Society Scholar. Currently Errold freelances throughout New York and New Jersey playing mostly jazz and R&B. Amongst those musicians he has performed with are Mulgrew Miller, Radam Schwartz, and The Ally Mac Project at venues such as Showman’s Jazz Club and Rockwood Music
Other members who volunteer key services include Natasha Dzurny, our tireless social coordinator and choreographer, and Kat Kelly, our ace graphic designer.