NCS 80th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT – HONORING 27 YEARS OF CHORAL LEADERSHIP
The NCS Spring Concert in May not only marked an historic 80 years of choral performance, but also the retirement of Music Director for 27 years Dr. Gerald Weale. Over the 27 years, Dr. Weale shaped the emotional and dramatic content of NCS choral performances, enriching audiences and choral members alike. Under his leadership, NCS performed the great choral masterworks from the Renaissance to the 20th Century with professional orchestra and soloists. Dr. Weale received a Proclamation from the City of Newburyport in honor of his service to the arts. Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday also spoke at the Saturday evening concert to acknowledge the Choral Society’s long history and outstanding contributions to the cultural life of the Greater Newburyport area. At the Sunday Concert, NCS President Joanne Johnson presented a plaque to Dr. Weale on behalf of the Choral Society.
The Choral Society’s 125 singers opened the concert with Handel’s rousing coronation anthem Zadok the Priest. Offering a quieter mood, the first half of the concert presented Randall Thompson’s choral setting of seven poems by Robert Frost – the beautiful, whimsical, and often haunting Frostiana. In the second half of the concert, the Choral Society performed the dramatic cantata Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughn, a sweeping cry for peace in the modern world with internationally renowned Stephen Salter as bass baritone soloist and upcoming Australian-American artist Robyn Lamp as soprano soloist. Dr. Weale took his final bow with the Choral Society to the strains of the American folk hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Mack Wilberg.
The 2013-2014 Concert Season marks a historical passage for the Newburyport Choral Society (NCS) – an 80th Anniversary of bringing outstanding choral music to the Greater Newburyport area. The Choral Society’s dedication to the education and cultural enrichment of the many local communities it serves is evident in its 80 year history, during which time it has performed music spanning centuries, featured up and coming artists, supported local students pursuing an education in music through the Betty Gillette Scholarship program, and involved high school students in concert performances.
In looking forward, NCS envisions even more engagement with the community through its “We Sing Program” with a primary goal of engaging adults and children in choral music. Key events will include its increasingly popular Open Community Sing during Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming festivities, and the inclusion of the Molin School Children’s Chorus in the 2013 Winter Concert. Music enriches our lives and NCS wishes to build upon its 80 year legacy by offering the community new opportunities to experience the richness of choral music.