WESTON, Conn. — Marlane Tubridy chuckles when she talks about moving to Weston with her husband, Martin, years ago. They had met in New York, but decided to raise their family outside the city.
But their Realtor didn't really highlight the charms of Weston to them.
“The Realtor was pointing out there are no sidewalks, not any storefronts nearby,” Tubridy recalled. “Sounds glorious to us! God made the land, there’s a beautiful stream in back of the house. I don’t need a shop two inches in front of my nose.”
So she found herself raising a family — her two sons are now adults — in Weston, a place whose natural beauty still appeals to her.
“I actually saw a peacock with two turkeys on my deck,” she said. She laughed at the notion that the peacock probably thinks it’s just not a very good-looking turkey.
“I’m into nature. I just love the stonewalls and streams,” Tubridy said of the rural setting in her adopted hometown.
She finds the environs of her home to be conducive to her creative endeavors. Tubridy is a professionally trained singer and musician who uses her talents to give back to the community through AFC, Arts for the Community, a nonprofit organization she founded in 2000.
She directs Cantiamo, the choir of AFC, in concerts to benefit local charities. Some of the organizations that AFC has supported in the past include DVCC and CWF Domestic Violence Centers, the Center for Family Justice, Catholic Charities, the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, and area food banks.
But supporting other organizations is only part of the purpose for the concerts Tubridy conducts.
“The audience is a priority, the event is a format to bring people together,” she said. “It’s an environment to share. You know, so many things we do are competitive. You can play golf or tennis, but those are competitions. The concerts are user-friendly from the stage. For the next hour-and-a-half, the audience has adopted you and the choir has adopted the audience. It’s totally different. Music is such a gift.”
It’s a gift that has been part of Tubridy’s life since childhood. She recalls the two pianos her mother had in their home in Ohio. Little Marlane would play one of the pianos for a while, and then switch to the other piano and play it for another hour.
She also studied dance as a child — ballet, tap and modern jazz. The sense of movement to music is just one of the elements she likes to bring to her compositions. Tubridy has composed in a wide range of musical styles, from folk to orchestral works.
But it's in performance that Tubridy's joy in music shines through, whether she is singing a solo or directing a choir singing one of her arrangements. She shares the experience with the audience.
"I talk to the audience," she said. "Not every director does. But I want to acknowledge that we're here with you, I don't want that barrier (between performers and audience). The more they are with us, the better."
She views the upcoming concert as an opportunity to take the audience along on a musical ride. "I like to give an audience variety and I like to give them a ride," she said. "I don't like to be totally predictable. The audience likes it and has fun."
Tubridy will direct the CantiamoCHOIR in a concert of Christmas music Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave. in Westport.
In addition to her annual schedule of concerts, Tubridy has expanded her creative endeavors to include video production. Next up for her?
"I'm busy working on a movie with original music and text, based on the Passion, called 'The Greatest Gift,'" Tubridy said. She said it will be a short film, just under 30 minutes long, that will debut over the weekend of Palm Sunday, next spring.
For more information on the CantiamoCHOIR concert or to reserve tickets, click here .
To check out Marlane Tubridy's videos on YouTube, click here .