Honoring Our Sponsors!

NCS Honors our Sponsors: Pat Connelly and the Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation.

Everyone is familiar with Mr. Fred Rogers and his landmark television show from the 1960s, where his motto is the always-friendly declamation “Welcome to my neighborhood!”   I moved from Pittsburgh, the home of Mr. Rogers, to Newburyport in 2000. Our moving-in list included three important tasks: find a local piano tuner for my two grand pianos so that I could resume teaching music; find a choral group so I could continue the choral singing I so loved in my home town; and find a local bank, where a customer is recognized as easily as a guest is in your own home.   I didn’t suspect then that all three goals would become entwined, like the people in an old-fashioned neighborhood, through Pat Connelly and the IFS Charitable Foundation of Newburyport.

First, the back story.   The Institution for Savings, founded in 1820, was set up and continues today as one of the country’s oldest mutual savings bank.   Owned by its member depositors, mutual savings banks prioritize security and philanthropic investment in their community.   In 1997, the Institution for Savings set up a charitable foundation to determine need, where funding could mean invaluable support for non-profit agencies that maintain social services, alleviate hunger, provide housing, increase education and encourage the growth of the arts.

It is individuals, serving as corporators of a mutual saving bank, who build the bridge between an institution’s mission and the needs of the community. As a Clerk of the Corporation, Pat Connelly, is one who works to build this bridge and who has worked at the IFS for 34 years. Pat began as a teller but now serves also as the clerk of the IFS Charitable Foundation. She approaches her work at the IFS as if the banks’ customers are part of an intimate neighborhood … one that makes Newburyport such a safe and attractive place to live.

One of the first things Pat will tell you is how proud she is to support the community where she grew up. Born on Forrester Street, an historic shipbuilding part of the city, Pat has seen this community grow and expand to include thriving arts, theatre and music organizations. She couldn’t have known, when she sat across the aisle in fourth grade of the old Currier Elementary School, that her friend Ralph Johnson would also continue working in the area’s shipbuilding trade and become a long-term board member and singer of the Newburyport Choral Society. In Pat’s world, friends become customers and customers become friends and so she also came to know one of Newburyport Choral Society’s founding members, Betty Gillette.   As NCS grew in stature, providing non-auditioned singers a place to sing and the community a place to attend great choral experiences, Pat continued to believe in the creative, transformative value of music.

It wasn’t long before many of us on the board of NCS were also introduced to Pat, who has overseen grants in support of NCS programming since 1999. For 17 years, the IFS Community Foundation has helped NCS with CD production, annual production expenses and special jubilee concerts. Tickets and membership fees only cover about half of an art’s organization budget. NCS simply would have failed to exist if it weren’t for our sponsors, who then become concertgoers and eventually friends, just like in Mr. Roger’s fictional neighborhood. But here in Newburyport, our culturally thriving neighborhood is for real.

P.S. I can’t help but mention the cat “Nickel” who for five years used to come in from the street to roam around the Bank’s Main Office, as if it was his home. Eventually, Pat adopted the friendly grey feline, where Nickel continues his nine lives in her family home on Forrester Street.

*We also acknowledge and thank the following current members of the IFS Charitable Foundation: Michael Jones, President; Kimberly Rock, Steve Cote, Donald Greenough, Drew Marc-Aurele. Kevin Gasiorowski, James Ellard, Freeman Condon, Kerri Perry and Esther Sayer.

Penny Lazarus, Alto 1 and Development Director, NCS.


NCS Honors our Sponsors: Stone Ridge Properties

For non-profit music arts organizations, ticket sales and membership dues only pay half of the cost of a performance. The other half comes from our loyal business and individual sponsors. In this concert series, we honor Mike Mullins and Stone Ridge Properties, Inc., sponsors of the Newburyport Choral Society (NCS) since 1996. Now one of six joint owners of the company, Mike remains committed to supporting the Newburyport Choral Society as a business sponsor.

Originally from Australia, Mike and his family moved from Minnesota to Newburyport’s South End in 1984. They have been attending concerts ever since and are often joined by Stone Ridge co-owner Tracy Mousseau, agents Cathy Toomey, Jerry Lischke (husband of singer Bette Lischke), and daughter Lela Lischke Wright.

Over the years Mike has attended a lot of NCS programs, and he counts Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana as one of his favorite choral pieces. Mike likes the intimacy and interaction of the conductor, the singers and the audience and is especially impressed with the warmth and sense of humor from our new conductor, George Case.

In fact, Mike rarely agrees to public interviews and would rather stay as low key as possible, letting word-of-mouth tell of Stone Ridge’s reputation. Stone Ridge Properties is the biggest real estate company in the area, and it has always been locally owned and operated as an independent agency. Stone Ridge expanded to include an Amesbury office in 1997, but they have never been interested in a franchise or other joint ventures.

Stone Ridge Properties’ commitment to the Newburyport and Amesbury communities runs as deep as the Merrimac River that fronts the company’s office at One Merrimac Street. As a result, Mike and his team created the Stone Ridge Properties Charitable Foundation to help non-profit organizations like public schools, family services, and the arts. They also help build low-income housing through matching donations. We at NCS are honored to be a recipient of Stone Ridge Properties’ continuing generosity.

Mike’s favorite architectural style house in Newburyport? The grand ship-captains’ Federals on High Street, even though he lives in a restored 1870 colonial home.

By the way, Mike, be sure to check out the prize-winning ad for Aussie Carlton Beer on You Tube featuring none other than, “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burina. It’s my favorite TV commercial of all time!

Penny Lazarus, NCS Development Director


NCS Honors our Sponsors: Port Paint N’ Paper

For non-profit music arts organizations, ticket sales and membership dues only pay half of the cost of a performance. The other half comes from our loyal business and individual sponsors. Today we honor the Boland Family and their Port Paint N’ Paper home improvement business. For the past 17 years, the Boland family has sponsored the Newburyport Choral Society, regularly attending concerts and counting the chorus as part of what makes the Newburyport area an extraordinary place to live.

Jack Boland is the third generation to own and operate this paint, stain, wallpaper and design company. His grandfather William Boland opened the first paint store, Bolan’s Decorating Center, in Haverhill in 1921! Jack grew up working for his grandfather and his father, Jack Sr., for as long as he can remember; first working crew and then helping when dad took over the Haverhill store in 1953. When it was time to open a second store, Dad asked his then 19-year-old son for help. In fact, Jack Jr. was still in school at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), majoring in business. Jack Jr. finished college while running Wicked Awesome Wall paper and Paint in Hampton, NH.

Jack Sr. has always liked Newburyport, lifeguarding out on Plum Island when he was a teen and sailing the coastal waters for much of his life. After selling the Haverhill store the family moved to Newburyport, living in and operating Port Paint N’ Paper from the same house that we know today on the corner of Merrimac and Warren Street.

Jack’s mother Jane, a talented pianist, filled their houses with music. Jack would wake up every morning to the sounds of his mother practicing on their baby grand piano. Jack Sr. and Jane still regularly attend the choral society concerts because they know it takes both an audience in the seats and musicians on stage to create a wonderful musical experience.

Jack’s favorite exterior house paint color? We actually both agreed on the historic oranges! Heads up though, the color of the year for 2015 is officially Guiford Green, Benjamin Moore HC-116; “a silvery green that works with everything!”

Thank you, Jack, for creating a place that offers quality service and where you know many of your customers by name and count them as friends. We also thank you for your continuous and long-term sponsorship support of NCS.

If you would like to become a valued sponsor of the Newburyport Choral Society please contact Penny Lazarus, Development Director and NCS Alto 1 at 978-462-4720 or p.lazarus@comcast.net

Penny Lazarus, NCS Development Director

Author: ncsadmin

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