By Sam McDonald

Scott Evans, a 60-year-old lieutenant with the Old Dominion University Police Department, has always loved to sing — at home, in church choir, in local choruses, in the car to and from work.

Yes, also in the shower.

Soon, thanks to a simple twist of fate, he’ll let his voice ring out at Carnegie Hall.

“I never dreamed that I would be singing with a group at Carnegie Hall,” said Evans, who joined ODU’s police force in 2019 after 27 years with the Norfolk Police Department. “It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Now, my wife, she’s a little jealous because she’s not going.”

On March 14, Evans and around 60 singers from ODU will climb on a bus bound for New York City. The group will perform in a March 17 concert listed on Carnegie Hall’s website as “New England Symphonic Ensemble,” with participating choruses. ODU singers will be joined by others from Regent University and the University of Texas at El Paso. Combined, they will number around 140 voices.

The performance will include a piece by French composer Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria,” which will be conducted by the director of ODU’s Choral Department and chair of the university’s Diehn School of Music, Nancy Klein. She was the driving force behind ODU’s participation in the concert.

“It’s unbelievable,” Evans said. “All I have to do is practice my part. Master my part. And sit on the bus that’s going to take me there.”

Of course, practicing takes a lot of time and commitment. Evans — who will sing as part of the ensemble, not as a soloist — takes his role seriously. For efficiency’s sake, he downloaded recordings of his parts and sings along during his commute back and forth to campus from Norfolk’s Ocean View neighborhood.

“People look at me a little funny when they see me at a stoplight,” he said. “But that’s OK. I know there’s a reason behind it.”

He’s also not shy about practicing around his coworkers. “Walking up and down the hallway in the police station, it’s not unusual for me to be singing my part in a rehearsal way,” Evans said. “They just laugh, and they smile. My peers are supportive.”

Singing is his lifelong passion, but one he started to take more seriously about a dozen years ago. After being in choir at Miles Memorial United Methodist Church, he joined the Virginia Beach Chorale. That led to singing with Symphonicity, based in Virginia Beach. He’s sung with that group for years, often at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.

Then, in the fall, he joined the ODU Concert Choir. “I said, ‘You know what? I know they have a chorus. Maybe I should look at that.’ I did, and the rest is history.”

With the approval of his supervisor, Deputy Chief of Police Keitha Boone, Evans audits a choir class taught by Klein. He rehearses with the group — students with a sprinkling of community members — for an hour and fifteen minutes each Tuesday and Thursday. He’s required to make up any missed work hours, but the department allows him the flexibility to routinely attend class.

Around the time he joined the ODU choir, he heard talk about a big trip coming up in the spring.

“I started thinking, Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall. That sounds like something I would definitely be interested in,” Evans recalls. “It’s certainly a bucket list item.”

“We’re proud of him,” Deputy Chief Boone said. “He’s living his dream.”

Evans credits Klein for both her skill as a director and for creating a warm, inclusive atmosphere in the choir.

He never felt like an outsider.

“I was apprehensive, to be honest with you, when I started this,” he said. “I’m a cop. Everybody views policing differently. But Dr. Klein, and all the students have been nothing but welcoming to me,” Evans said. “They’ve been nice to me. It’s just a great group of students.”