New England Voices in Harmony has returned to in-person rehearsals with protocols in place so we can safely sing together!
We would love to have you join us at a rehearsal to discover Harmony with us and consider membership.
Please call us at 603-686-SING or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We look forward to meeting you!
2018 International Chorus Champions
New England Voices in Harmony – A women’s championship a cappella chorus
Joyce Desjardins, baritone
From a 34-year career in teaching, to being a volunteer for the National Park Service, to being a Justice of the Peace, baritone Joyce Desjardins brings a lot of interesting experience to New England Voices in Harmony.
Heavily influenced in music by what she describes as a “typical suburban Baby Boomer family,” she is the youngest of four children. “My parents played big band music, Broadway and movie musical sound tracks, and a wide collection of male and female crooners,” she explains, and she adds that she “always sang along.” After she was selected for a solo in a fifth grade Christmas show, she was hooked, participating in every chorus activity available. By high school, Joyce was involved in chorus, an a cappella group, musical play productions, church choir, and a madrigal group.
Following a public school education, Joyce earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Special Education from Rivier University, then received a Master of Education in Specific Learning Disabilities, also from Rivier. From Fitchburg State University, she earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership and Educational Technology. Her experience as a teachers’ union president led to active roles in the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and as a state representative to the National Education Association. Her career in teaching filled her with “a sense of purpose and joy,” she explains, and she frequently runs into former students who remind her of “the positive impact that teachers can make on young lives. That’s incredibly cool,” she adds. After her retirement from the middle school math classroom, she continued to teach as a facilitator in an academy to train new educational leaders.
She met her husband, David, when mutual friends set them up on a blind date. “It’s fair to say that we both knew pretty early on in our relationship that we were kindred spirits,” she notes. “It may sound syrupy sweet,” she says, “but we really enjoy being together, regardless of what we’re doing – gardening, traveling, attending live shows, completing DIY projects, singing together, or doing research work.” Joyce and David currently teach an introductory course in genealogy and sing together in a mixed quartet called Second Chants. The couple has one daughter, Casey, married to their “wonderful son-in-law,” Joe. They are also proud grandparents to Mason, 7, and Lillian, 5. “They are all kinds of cute and more fun than bubble wrap,” she says with a laugh.
Speaking of fun, for years she and David would attend the Granite Statesmen’s Christmas Cabaret. “Each year the music made me realize how much I missed choral singing,” she says. At one Cabaret, Liane Perry, a founding member who had known David for years, found out about Joyce’s longing to be back singing. Liane immediately invited her to a rehearsal, adding, “So I’ll see you on January 3rd.” Joyce explains that Liane and Deb Green welcomed her at the door and treated her with such warmth that she knew she had to stay. That was 10 years ago. “I have made friendships and shared laughs and tears with some very dear women in this group. My section leader, Lynn, has encouraged me to take risks and has supported my efforts to improve,” she recalls. That has led to her singing in two different chapter quartets: Just Sayin’ and Measure 4 Measure.
Participating as a NEVIH officer and on various committees has afforded her the opportunity to experience and appreciate “the diversity of talents and opinions of fellow members. I feel that it has also given me the chance to add my own flavor to the culture of the Chapter,” Joyce points out. Following service on an ad hoc communications committee, she was elected as the first Vice President of Communications and then served as webmaster of the NEVIH website. She has also served on the Social Committee, Public Relations Committee, Membership Committee and was the Convention Coordinator. She is currently the Chapter Parliamentarian and is a member of the 2023 Area 2 Convention Planning Team.
So where does she see NEVIH going in the next few years? “With an initial goal of capturing the attention of the audience, New England Voices in Harmony loves to then take them on an emotional journey with us. It’s hard to imagine that desire and practice of engaging, inspiring, and entertaining an audience ever changing,” she muses. ”We can only hope that more women, who just might be missing choral music, too, will find the same kind of joy in the music we love and experience that emotional journey from within as they join us on the risers.” And Joyce will be with us all the way.