Ronette "Roni" Burkes felt like she owed one to the Harmony Project.
So in 2014, the woman who is now warden of the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville joined the organization that combines a love of singing with a desire to give back to the community.
Founded in 2009, the Harmony Project brings together people from central Ohio to not only sing but also to volunteer for community projects such as neighborhood cleanups, building playgrounds, planting trees and serving meals at homeless shelters.
"Harmony Project connects people across social divides through the arts, education and volunteer community services," according to an announcement issued in February when the group outgrew the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus and began rehearsing at the Northland Performing Arts Center.
The nonprofit organization, which started with 100 singers and now has a cast of 1,000, will perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd. in Columbus. The show is titled "Harmony Project Presents: The Concert for Us."
"The concert is a continuation, a celebration of the season that we've had together," said David Brown, founder and creative director.
Information about tickets is available at harmonyproject. com/events-and-concerts, although Brown said tickets were going fast.
Burkes, who lives in Blacklick, said she was motivated to become part of the Harmony Project after members of the organization visited the prison to sing with inmates.
"I felt like if they could serve at my facility, I could join in the choir," she said. "Music has such a healing experience to it. It has brought a sense of peace to my life."
Janae Miller of Reynoldsburg has been part of Harmony Project since January 2010.
"I've been singing professionally and nonprofessionally since I could walk," she said. "It's a healing thing. I can always find a song to lift my spirits."
Miller, who is blind, said from the beginning, she has felt "loved and accepted" by the other members of Harmony Project.
"I've been a lot of places in my life where I felt isolated, but not here," she said.
Miller and Burkes both said they have forged abiding friendships through Harmony Project, including with one another.
The choir, which has its own backup band, ranges from elementary school students to senior citizens, Brown said.
"The goal of the organization is not musical harmony; that's the side effect," he said. "It's community harmony."
The only auditions at Harmony Project are for those who wish to sing solos, not to join.
"In Harmony Project, it is not about the quality of your voice. It is about how you use it," according to the organization's website. "There are no notes to read. In Harmony Project, the focus is on the lyrics of the song. We are storytellers. There is no financial obligation to our volunteers. Every Harmony Project arts and education program is offered complimentary. Our concerts, community investors, foundations, public partners and corporate contributors provide support for our mission, allowing every person who wishes to participate to do so, regardless of their resources."