Meet Chordaires’ Libby Bender

Libby Bender

Linda Ryan

Libby Bender is at the heart of Chordaires.

A member since 2015, the group created a new role for her in 2017, as assistant director. She is the liaison between the chorus and the director and much more. As both a member of Chordaires and a lifelong musician, she facilitates communication between the chorus members and the director, which helps everyone through the inevitable misunderstandings and conflicts that arise in any group.

As lead of the Music Committee, she helps select a theme and the songs for each show. She finds the sheet music and professionally recorded learning tracks for all the parts for each song, reviews the learning tracks for each part, comparing them to the printed music, and sends both sheet music and learning tracks to each chorus member.

Sometimes, if there is a discrepancy between the sheet music and the recorded tracks, Libby records the part the way the director wants it done, playing the notes on her piano and singing the part as well. She also is a member of the board, bringing experience and a broad perspective to decisions.

She is well prepared for this volunteer role, having begun her music training at age 9 with piano lessons. She began learning flute the following year and continued learning both instruments and music theory from then on. In college she majored in music education with a minor in math.

After graduation from college, she taught middle school choir and general music for five years. During that time, she met and married her husband, and when pregnant with her first child, she left teaching to stay home and raise their children.

When they were in school, she was often invited to play her flute for their Christmas music programs. Recently, she and her son played the music for her niece’s wedding—she on flute and he on guitar.

In that same commitment to service, Libby fills in if the Chordaires’ director can’t make a practice. She also directs small group performances at nursing homes and club parties. Sometimes she finds herself singing as the only tenor and directing at the same time.

Though Chordaires don’t usually meet or practice during the summer, this year, Libby led our preparation to sing the “Armed Forces Medley” in the Veterans Day celebration at Cottonwood on Nov. 11.

Through Zoom meetings, members who were in Sun Lakes and various summer locations practiced in our sections: Lead, Tenor, Baritone and Bass. Libby sent out all the music, scheduled the practice sessions, and led each session with one hand on the piano and one directing, so we would be ready for the chorus practice that begins in October.

As if all of that weren’t enough, she started sending out the music for the April 1 Spring Show, a fitting date for the theme “First Experiences in Life.”