THE NEWBURYPORT CHORAL SOCIETY
The Newburyport Choral Society (NCS) is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to bringing outstanding choral music to the Greater Newburyport area which includes the many cities and towns of Essex County and southern New Hampshire. Averaging 125 members, NCS is one of the largest community choral societies in New England, and one of the nation’s oldest choral groups. For more than 80 years, NCS has performed an extensive repertoire of choral music from the Renaissance to the 21st century with professional orchestra and soloists. Known for the exceptional quality of its concerts, NCS has set the standard in the performance of choral/orchestral masterworks on the North Shore.
NCS singers and audiences experience the great classical works of such composers as Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Verdi, as well as more contemporary composers such as Britten, Duruflé and Pinkham. No two concerts are alike, and they represent musical offerings that span hundreds of years, a multitude of nationalities and musical styles from oratorios to American spirituals. The quality of NCS concerts springs from a single common bond shared by all of its members — a love of singing and sharing outstanding choral music with community audiences – from the known to the new – from the emotional power of large choral works to the tenderness of smaller a cappella pieces – from dramatic and innovative contemporary works to lighthearted seasonal music.
To foster choral singing among children and youth NCS has developed a collaborative relationship with the Greater Newburyport Children’s Chorus to give these young musicians the opportunity to perform with the NCS chorus and orchestra during our Winter Concerts. NCS is also partnering with the Newburyport Chamber Musical Festival for a 2017 program that will include a newly commissioned piece performed by NCS with string ensemble and organ. The NCS concert rehearsal season begins in September immediately after Labor Day and ends with the Spring Concert. The musical season extends into the summer with the popular Summer Sing, a community event with nearly 200 people coming together, admission free, to listen or join NCS members in singing a choral masterpiece with professional soloists.
THE NCS ORGANIZATION
NCS is a community chorus – rooted in Newburyport, but also drawing singers and supporters from surrounding towns. Each season, NCS attracts approximately 125 singers from more than thirty communities in eastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. Singers range in age from high school students to retirees and bring diverse musical backgrounds to their choral experience. The only requirements for membership are a love of singing, commitment to learning the music, and a willingness to participate in the life and well-being of the chorus. NCS members join an artistic and cultural community offering both amateur and accomplished singers vibrant, creative and rewarding musical experiences. New members have the opportunity for enrichment through optional musicianship classes. We sing together, learn together, laugh together, and strive together for excellence in performance.
NCS employs two part time professionals, Music Director, Dr. George Case, and NCS Accompanist. Dr. Kirsten Helgeland. Dr. Case is the Director of Choral Activities at the Boston Conservatory where he directs the chorale ensembles, teaches Choral Literature, and directs the graduate choral conducting program. He holds Doctoral and Master’s degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan, a Bachelors degree in vocal performance from Boston University, and brings wide-ranging musical experience as a conductor, educator, and professional singer. NCS piano accompanist Dr. Kirsten Helgeland holds degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music and the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati from which she also holds a PhD in musicology. Dr. Helgeland was the piano soloist in the NCS 2016 Spring Concert performance of Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasia.” NCS also contracts with professional soloists and musicians for its performances. Concert soloists are most often graduate students of major Boston music institutions who have just begun their professional performance careers while orchestra members are professional musicians from the Greater Boston area.
The day-to-day management of the organization is overseen by a 16-member volunteer Board of Directors made up of active NCS singers. These individuals bring a wealth of experience to the table including business and financial management, administrative expertise, grant development, technology and database management, community relations, fundraising, media, and professional music performance. NCS is fortunate to benefit from an extraordinary amount of management expertise within the Board and in the larger organization.
The broader NCS community also includes the children and youth we include in our programs along with the sponsors and advertisers who help support our programs, and our concert audiences. NCS Winter Concerts have been enriched through our collaboration with the Greater Newburyport Children’s Chorus. More than 2,000 tickets are sold each year for the concerts offered during two concerts seasons, and our audiences reflect the diversity of communities in Essex County and southern New Hampshire. NCS is a member of the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and maintains relationships with the business community that has yielded loyal business sponsors and more than 130 advertisers in concert programs
The spirit of the NCS organization was captured by Music Director, Dr. George Case in these words:
We believe that music is MORE than the right notes and the right rhythms at the right time – that it is the soul and heart of each individual.
We believe in growing as humans, as a community, and as musicians through hard work and great fun.