Nova Singers is currently celebrating 42 years of bringing the joy and art of choral music to audiences around the world.
For 18 years, Peggy Joyce Barber was a monumental figure in high school music in Broward County and was the youngest person elected to the Florida Music Educators Hall of Fame. During her years at Stranahan High School, her choirs consistently received accolades at both the local and national levels. In 1976, after retiring from the school system, Ms. Barber recognized that there was no musical outlet for her high school chorus members who wanted to continue in choral singing. As she considered the possibilities, she contacted her good friend, Dr. Abraham Fischler, then president of Nova University, who shared Peggy’s vision and agreed to sponsor a choral group. And, thus, with an initial core membership of ex-Stranahan High School singers, the Nova University Community Singers – later known as the Nova Singers – was launched with the stated intent to “keep choral music alive” in Broward County.
From humble beginnings of 55 singers in the living room of its Founding Director, the Nova Singers group has evolved into a well-established and highly-regarded 140-member choral organization with more than 750 musical titles in its library ranging from the classics to modern-day compositions. The group has performed locally, nationally and internationally. Membership in the Nova Singers is open to the community, and members range in age from high school through seniors in their 90s. The Singers rehearse weekly from September through May and perform three concert series a year (December, March, May) in a total of nine venues in the tri-county area.
Nova Singers has collaborated with several other musical organizations in the area, including the Florida Chamber Orchestra, The Greater Miami Symphony Orchestra, Florida’s Singing Sons, the Florida Philharmonic Chorus and the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble as well as with the Gainesville Civic Chorale and many church choirs. The belief among the Singers is that collaboration with other groups is vital, and the synergy of the musical organizations allows all groups to reach a higher degree of musical excellence.
Nova Singers not only enrich the local arts community…they have performed on national and international stages. In 1988, the Singers toured in Germany, Austria and Switzerland; in 2006, the Singers performed throughout Italy, including an invitation from the Vatican to sing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. And, in 2016, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the singers toured Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. On the national level, Nova Singers has performed at the Washington Cathedral and Carnegie Hall as well as tours throughout Florida and North Carolina.
Many of the original founders of Nova Singers still sing with the group today. For all who participate, it's a way of life extending beyond the rehearsal hall and stage to a world of lifelong friendships, opportunities for education, personal growth and leadership development. Being a part of Nova Singers is filled with song, laughter, and a passion for soothing the cares of the world with harmony.
Founding Director Peggy Barber retired in 2010 passing the director baton to Nova Singers Associate Director Chuck Stanley, a charter member of the group and a protégé of Ms. Barber. Her guidance and influence remain strong in the hearts and minds of singers having the privilege of singing under Ms. Barber’s leadership. Her legacy in the group will transcend generations.