Continuing a longstanding tradition, the New York Life Singers kicked off another holiday season with a series of performances at our Home Office. The group's harmonious history traces back to 1938 when employees from the then New York Life Women's Club gathered to form a choral ensemble. They called themselves the New York Life Lyric Choral Group and performed for the holidays and at military hospitals all over the New York City area. Whether any of those women dreamed their chorus would still be alive and kicking today is anybody's guess, but they would certainly be proud to know that 80 years later, their vision remains in what is now the New York Life Singers.
The Singers are best known for their lobby performances at the New York Life Home Office during the holiday season, but they also perform at our annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and have performed at past Executive Officer meetings. Through the decades, they've performed at such noteworthy venues as Rockefeller Center, the Pan Am/MetLife building, and the Ford Foundation. They also performed at our 150th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
"Although we've had to adapt to a changing work environment along the way, the New York Life Singers has been in existence for decades and will be celebrating its 80th anniversary next year," says Stephen O'Leary, who is the group's Musical Director and an employee in the company's Finance department. "It's gratifying that enough people still have the time to prepare and be available for performing. Visually and acoustically, the Home Office lobby is a great place to perform, and the concert quality has remained high enough that some spectators have assumed an outside group was brought in."
Any employee or retiree can become a member of the Singers. "Although rehearsing on-site and practicing on one's own are required, no previous musical experience is necessary," notes O'Leary, who has a doctorate in music and plays in three bands in his spare time, switching between keyboards, trombone, and vocals as needed.
The company thanks the New York Life Singers for their dedication to making the season feel even more merry and bright for so many years and looks forward to many more.
Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.