The list below shows all of the rehearsals, warm-ups, and performances for the season that we know at this time. Any changes will be announced as early as possible. Please arrange your personal and work schedules now to avoid conflicts later.
The May and June Rehearsals are available for you to get ahead on working on this difficult piece. Please attend as many as you are able.
Additional rehearsal opportunities are available August 29 through October 31 on:
Worcester Chorus meets Tuesday evenings – 7pm-9:30pm – First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA
5/9 Worcester Chorus Rehearsal First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA 7-9:30pm 5/16 Worcester Chorus Rehearsal First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA 7-9:30pm 5/22 Sounds of Stow Rehearsal First Parish Church, 353 Great Road, Stow, MA 7:30-9:30pm 5/23 Worcester Chorus Rehearsal First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA 7-9:30pm 5/29 Sounds of Stow Rehearsal First Parish Church, 353 Great Road, Stow, MA 7:30-9:30pm 5/31 Sectionals with Jack Goodwin (ALL Adult Choirs) First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA 6:30pm-7:30pm – Soprano/Alto 7:45pm-8:15pm – Semi-Chorus
8:30pm-9:30pm – Tenor/Bass
Britten Rehearsal Retreat with Jack Goodwin (ALL Adult Choirs)
Bancroft School, 110 Shore Drive, Worcester, MA 10:00am-12:30pm – rehearsal (there will be a break)
12:30pm-1:30pm – lunch
1:30pm-3pm – rehearsal
6/5 Sounds of Stow Rehearsal First Parish Church, 353 Great Road, Stow, MA 7:30-9:30pm 6/12 Sounds of Stow Rehearsal First Parish Church, 353 Great Road, Stow, MA 7:30-9:30pm TENTATIVE: 6/19 Sounds of Stow Rehearsal First Parish Church, 353 Great Road, Stow, MA 7:30-9:30pm 7/15 Sectionals with Chris Shepard (All Adult Choirs) location TBD 11am-1pm – Tenor/Bass
2pm-4pm – Sop/Alto
8/28 First Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 9/4 No Rehearsal – Labor Day 9/11 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 9/18 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-930 pm
6:00 – Annual meeting of SS Inc. followed by 7:15 rehearsal
9/25 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 10/2 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 10/9 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm Saturday
Britten Rehearsal Retreat with Jack Goodwin TBD 10am-3pm – Adult Choirs and Worcester Children’s Choir 10/16 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 10/23 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm 10/30 Rehearsal Trinity Lutheran 7:15-9:30 pm Saturday
Possible piano Rehearsal – adult choirs TBD TBD Monday
Possible piano Rehearsal – adult choirs and children’s chorus TBD TBD Thursday 11/9 Full Rehearsal (Orchestra, adult and children’s choirs) TBD TBD Friday
Dress Rehearsal (Orchestra, adult and children’s choirs) TBD TBD Sunday
CONCERT – The War Requiem, by Benjamin Britten Mechanic’s Hall Call times TBD
It’s Time to Think About Spring planting!
We partner with “Flower Power Fundraising” in fundraising for Salisbury Singers. This earth-friendly company offers a large selection of plants including bulbs, perennials and vegetables all with a 100% money-back guarantee. For every order placed, Salisbury Singers receives 50% of the sale! We could use your support!
Participation is easy as it’s all done on-line. Order for yourself or submit a combined order for yourself, friends and family.
- We’re running a Summer/Fall fundraiser now through October 15 using the company “Flower Power Fundraising.” This earth-friendly provider offers a large selection of plants including bulbs, perennials and vegetables. For every order placed, Salisbury Singers receives 50% of the sale! We could use your support!Participation is easy, as it’s all done on-line. People can order for themselves, individually, or submit a combined order for themselves and others.Visit Salisbury Singers’ own Flower Power Page (http://www.flowerpowerfundraising.com/campaign?campaign_id=23823&user_campaign_id=510356) and place your order.Easily invite friends and family to participate. Click here or http://www.flowerpowerfundraising.com/campaign/refer-a-friendFlower Power will send an email describing the fundraiser and enable them to easily and directly place and receive orders, themselves.Print a 1-page Product Catalog and Order Form with all items and prices. Collect orders and later place as a single order on-line.Flower Power’s web site is secure and only uses email addresses entered to send out order notices and info. It will not sell or use the names for any other purpose.We thank you, as always, for all your help!
Music Review: Salisbury Singers soar on ‘Canticles’
The Worcester Telegram published a glowing review of our very successful performance “Life and Remembrance.”
“Throughout, the choir demonstrated remarkable articulation and precise diction. You didn’t need the program to grasp the intent. The choir’s spot-on dynamics locked in the audience, carrying it forward into Rutter’s message that the ultimate blessing of ultimate grace is to be alive.”
Read the entire review here.
- Photo: The Salisbury Singers perform at Trinity Lutheran Church last night. (T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA)By John Zeugner TELEGRAM & GAZETTE REVIEWER
WORCESTERThe Salisbury Singers joined the instrumentalists of the Bach Consort of Worcester last night at Trinity Lutheran Church in an enthralling celebration of the Easter Season. To the old musicologists’ saw that “while angels listen to Mozart, God listens only to Bach,” director Michelle Graveline’s precisely trained forces added the fillip: “After Bach, the Deity invariably hums Handel and Telemann.”
The program was aptly named “Baroque Brilliance” opening with Telemann’s “Laudate Jehovam,“ adroitly conducted by Graveline’s assistant, Joshua Rohde, and then Bach’s early, endearing Cantata No. 4 “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” a musical rendering of Martin Luther’s summary of the Christian story. After the intermission the program concluded with Handel’s massive and moving “Dettingen Te Deum,” thanking God for a British military triumph.
Four soloists joined the 94 singers: soprano Monica Hatch, mezzo-soprano Pamela Dellal, tenor Murray Kidd, and bass-baritone Dana Whiteside. Within the consort, lead trumpeter John Roderick MacDonald deserves soloist designation, too. His work in the Handel piece manifested a near-divine infusion of breath and spot-on control of very challenging notes.
As always, given Graveline’s meticulous attention to detail and careful preparation of forces, the mix of soloists and chorus in the Bach piece provided spectacular effects. Each of the seven vocal movements ends in a resounding “Hallelujah!” And listening to Bach’s creative, hyperpoetic variations of each ending was a dizzying experience. The youthful Bach out-“hallelujahs!” “Messiah,” long before Handel even imagined that score. In the third movement Hatch and Dellal sweetly explore, with deft harpsichord accompaniment by Lynn LaComfora, the softer fadeout version of death’s apparent mastery in a muted “Hallelujah.” In the sixth movement Whiteside unfurls the full power of his immense voice, in a resounding affirmation of grace over death. And the chorus answers at the end of the seventh movement with an amazing rippling “Hallelujah!” Luther’s final chorale hymn builds to a megapower conclusion and final blissful “Hallelujah!,” that clearly thrilled the crowded church.
Handel composed the “Te Deum” a couple of years after “Messiah,” and it seemed he had internalized, refined and sharpened the techniques “Messiah” revealed. The blend of soloists and chorus seems more seamless in the “Te Deum.” Compare, for example, the “Te Deum’s” sixth segment, “Thou art the King of Glory O Christ,”(there are myriad versions on YouTube) with “Messiah’s” “Who is the King of Glory?” That arcane and probably extraneous point aside, The Salisbury Singers delivered wondrously powerful renderings of the texts. The contrapuntal force the chorus demonstrated, the articulation they managed of the various lines, and in particular the purity of tone — an almost ethereal gift — the soprano section displayed, generated, time after time, heart-stopping sonic moments.
One might complain that occasionally a soloist scooped a bit toward a note, or lament the echo effect Trinity Lutheran’s soaring vault space created, but these would be piddling objections beside the spectacular success of this concert. Who but Handel/Graveline could have taken a last line like “O Lord, in thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded,” and turned it into a mesmerizing chorale finale, mounting on itself into ever-looping, ever-expanding oceans of sound that quite literally yanked the huge audience into a standing ovation?
- Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Joyce Tamer TELEGRAM & GAZETTE REVIEWER
WORCESTER — A Celebration of Classical Masters was the theme of the concert presented by the Salisbury Singers on Sunday in Blessed Sacrament Church. Liturgical music of Michael Haydn, Schubert and Mozart comprised the program.
Accompaniment was provided by a small string ensemble, with four excellent soloists.
Though not as well-known as his famous brother, Michael Haydn was a prolific composer with hundreds of compositions to his name. His setting of the gradual, “Petite et Accipietis” (“Ask and You shall Receive”) was the first number on the program, conducted by John Schnelle, assistant conductor of the Salisbury Singers. The chorus gave a precise and professional rendition of this seldom heard piece.
The most important work on the program was the Mass in G by Franz Schubert. Though it is an early work of Schubert’s, it has many Romantic qualities such as dramatic use of dynamics and soaring melodic lines. These were delivered beautifully by the chorus, and the intensity of the forte passages was particularly thrilling. Though the Mass is basically homophonic in character, the short bursts of polyphony were very clearly and precisely sung. The three soloists in the Schubert Mass were Jean Danton, soprano, Eric Christopher Perry, tenor, and Kyle Siddons, baritone; and all performed admirably, especially in their beautifully realized and affecting reading of the Benedictus.
After the Schubert, there was a brief pause in the performance so that an award could be presented to UniBank, longtime supporter and the day’s sponsor of this Salisbury Singers Concert.
Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, enthroned during Mozart’s time, expected a Mass to last no longer than 45 minutes, so Mozart was somewhat time-constrained in these works. He wrote seven or eight Missae Breves, the one in F major being the final piece on the program. This Mass is also homophonic for the most part, though there are a few polyphonic passages, many of which were not completely realized by Mozart. The choral tone was rich, focused and well-supported, and the string ensemble executed its small parts admirably. The lovely mezzo-soprano Eileen Christiansen joined the other three excellent soloists to complete the quartet needed in this short Mass.
Though this was a lovely little concert, one can’t help but wonder why two Masses were programmed, particularly two such similar ones. Replacing one of the Masses with a magnificat, Te Deum or some motets would have added some diversity to a program showcasing Classical Masters while still retaining the liturgical theme.
The Salisbury Singers, joined by the Mastersingers of Worcester, will be presenting another Mass, this one by 20th-century Belgian composer Joseph Jongen June 5 in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Chorus leaves audience wanting more
Salisbury Singers give impressive holiday concert
By John Zeugner TELEGRAM & GAZETTE REVIEWER
The Salisbury Singers fashioned an impressive early jump on the holiday season last night with a concert titled “The Brilliance of Bach.” Music Director Michelle Graveline ingeniously found a way to pack her 81 singers into the front of the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church and still provide room for the dozen musicians of The Bach Consort of Worcester as accompaniment, with Lynne LaComfora on the harpsichord.
The enormous, vaulted vertical space of the church posed some acoustic challenges for this concert celebrating the 325th anniversary of Bach’s birth, but nonetheless was an impressive vessel for the joyous monumentality of the music.
The opening Motet, “Lobet den Herrn” was probably written as a singing accompaniment to the choir’s slow-walking entrance, a kind of prelude to the formal cantata that Bach, incredibly, generated weekly for his church’s Sunday services. Under Graveline’s always exacting and precise command the piece served as a brilliant warmup for both chorus and audience to adjust to the sound-spaces of Trinity Lutheran. The conclusion was a superbly rendered spiraling “Alleluia!” displaying the chorus’s articulation and space-filling power.
The second selection featured Trinity organist John Weit, above and behind the large audience, at the church’s massive organ. He played the “Organ Chorale Prelude: Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland,” BWV 659, a stately and complex piece with strong resonances from Dietrich Buxtehude, as well as monastic plainsong. The organ’s power from the back of the church seemed a perfect rejoinder to the chorus’s opening thunder from the church’s front. It was a dizzying illustration of Bach’s unbelievable facility spinning music effects.
Bach’s cantata for the first Sunday of Advent, the actual “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” BWV 62, concluded the first half of the concert. It began with a wonderfully realized chamber orchestra string prelude, followed by the chorus’s stout enunciation of the Savior’s birth and subsequent worship of the Lord.
The next four movements were handled by soloists accompanied by the Bach Consort, with the chorus silent. The splendid, extensive program notes were invaluable in grasping the cantata, with full text in German and translations provided. Tenor Stanley Wilson precisely articulated the 2nd movement’s celebration of the miracle of Christ’s birth, with, occasionally, Wilson sacrificing heft for enunciation. The orchestral support was spacious and fluent. Bass-Baritone Steven Small capably threaded through the third movement recitative and deftly, if quietly, delivered the 4th movement aria, “Streite, siege, starker Held.” Soprano Elisabeth Gondek was joined by Margaret Tartaglia, mezzo-soprano, for the joint recitative 5th movement, and then the chorus wound things up with a majestic, vault-filling “Praise be to God the Father … for ever and in eternity!” One longed to hear more from the chorus, a desire partially fulfilled in the concert’s second half.
After the intermission Graveline took up Bach’s familiar cantata BWV 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,” – “Awake, the watchmen call to us …” with interior movements detailing the brides awaiting-their-bridegroom story strangely spliced in. The chorus handles the 1st, 4th (tenors only) and final 7th movement. Soloists handle the rest culminating in stirring 3rd and 6th movement duets by Small and Gondek. The first duet was preceded by a violin solo masterfully rendered by Peter Sulski. The second duet featured accompaniment from the Bach Consort’s spot-on woodwind section. But it was the chorus that thrilled the audience, especially in the conclusion, lushly thundering out Bach’s familiar hymn music that pulled the audience into a standing ovation. It did seem the talented chorus was a bit short-changed. One longed to hear more from them. Doubtless Graveline, a thoughtful classicist, wanted to keep her various elements balanced, and faithful to Bach’s directives, but as the sublime comic Zero Mostel asserted: “When you’ve got it, baby, flaunt it. Flaunt it!” The Salisbury Singers clearly have got it. Next time, let them dominate.
Salisbury Singers to Treat Audiences to
‘A Night at the Opera’
Wine Tastings, Silent Auction to Enhance Gala Concert
WORCESTER, Mass. — Salisbury Singers will perform famous choruses from Carmen, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor and more at “A Night at the Opera,” also featuring complimentary wine tastings and a silent auction, on Saturday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St., Worcester.
Tickets are $20, $18 senior citizens and students, and $10 for children under 12 and may be purchased online at www.salisburysingers.org or by calling 508-799-3848. Proceeds support the nonprofit chorus, which has been providing a musical outlet for Central Massachusetts residents since 1973.
“We’re very excited about the performance and fundraiser and hope that the popular program will draw new audiences,” said Marieke Peleman, a Salisbury Singers Inc. board member who lives in Holden. “The size of the chorus and high quality of its performances make Salisbury Singers a cultural force in Central Massachusetts.”
More than 50 singers will be joined by four renowned professional soloists: soprano Andrea Matthews, mezzo-soprano Gale Fuller, tenor Ray Bauwens and baritone John Whittlesey. Michelle Graveline, Salisbury Singers’ music director, will take the podium, with Christopher Walters assisting and Lynne La Comfora and Olga Rogach accompanying on piano.
The evening will also feature a silent auction featuring fine wine, jewelry, handcraft furniture, pottery and crystal, dining gift certificates, Patriots tickets, a Worcester Art Museum memebership and more. Enjoy a private, guided nature hike up Mt. Wachusett, a visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden, tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a color consulting and decorating session, fitness training, and a spa gift set. Bidding begins at 6:30 p.m. Items are available for preview online at www.salisburysingers.org.
During an extended intermission, audience members will be invited to taste a variety of wines courtesy of O’Hara’s Wine and Liquors, 402 West Boylston St., Worcester. Owner Jim Vasiliadis will be pouring an Argentinian malbec, a German riesling, a California cabrnet and red zinfandel, a Loire Valley Bordeaux blanc and perhaps a couple of sparkling wines. He said he is eager to introduce an Australian sparkling shiraz that received rave reviews at a recent wine dinner he hosted at the Webster House. Vasiliadis will provide a list of the wines, all available at his store, with special pricing for the Salisbury Singers’ audience.
“It’s a great partnership,” he said. “Any time something livens up the community — music, art or dance — it’s a great event.”
Plus, Vasiliadis added, “How often do you get to go out to the opera?”
Worcester — “Requiem and Remembrance” was the title of the thoughtfully conceived program presented by the Salisbury Singers and guest artists on Sunday afternoon in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Assumption College. The requiem segment of the program was Maurice Duruflé’s “Requiem,” and the “Remembrance” segment consisted of four songs by contemporary Canadian composers.
Michelle Graveline, conductor, and the Salisbury Singers opened the program with “Remember,” a song by Stephen Chatman on a poem by Christina Rossetti, which mourns a lost love. This was sung a cappella with a lovely rich tone and clear enunciation of the words. Eleanor Daley is the composer of the second piece, “For the Fallen,” which reflects on war and its losses. The chorus was joined in this piece by a solo trumpet and solo cello, unfortunately played with inaccurate intonation which detracted from the rich harmonies sung by the chorus. Stephen Hatfield’s piece, “All Too Soon,” was a remembrance of home and was poignantly sung.
The fourth of the group of Canadian songs was “Song for the Mira” sung by the Worcester Children’s Chorus, and what a delightful little group they were!
Conducted by Jennifer Kane and accompanied by Malcolm Halliday on piano and Lydia Consilvio on oboe, the young people sang in tune, with precise rhythm, and with a pleasing relaxed tone. Working with their talented conductor to produce more focused vowel sounds will help them to improve. It was a wonderful experience for this group to sing on a concert program with adults and a perfect training ground to prepare future singers for choruses in the area. Kudos to all involved in this arrangement.
Christopher Walters was the guest conductor for the Duruflé Requiem which was accompanied by the Salisbury Chamber Orchestra and organist William Ness. Kyle Siddons provided the baritone solo within the third and eighth sections of the Mass, and the Worcester Children’s Chorus sang the “Pie Jesu” segment with poise and sensitivity. Overall, the Salisbury Singers gave a competent performance, with good dynamic shadings and phrasing. However, the soprano section of the chorus did not meet the high standard set by the altos and the male voices, often sounding tentative and strained. They will need to work diligently to match the fine singing of their colleagues. Entrances in all voices, which were precise in the group of Canadian songs, were not always secure in the Requiem, so one needs to look at the baton technique of the conductor. Walters has a very unobtrusive and fluid conducting technique, which bodes well for relaxed singing, but he must be certain that the beat is precise and clear for his singers. This issue will certainly be resolved as he completes his doctoral studies.
The chamber orchestra, as small as it was, overpowered the singing and the clarity of the text. Given the beautiful sonorities created by William Ness and the sensitivity of his playing, one wished that the organ alone had been used for accompaniment.
Despite some flaws, the program was enjoyable and effective in conveying its message, and future programs of the Salisbury Singers are eagerly anticipated. The inclusion of the Worcester Children’s Chorus was a delightful addition and a wonderful idea. We look forward to hearing them again.
© 2010 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp
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