Choruses invite you to raise your voices in song again (Updated)

by beth on August 19, 2021

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Above: The Southborough Senior Songsters entertained with “Country Capers” in a past year. (Photo cropped from Southborough Access Media’s video)

Most summers, I like to share choices for Southborough adults who want to belt out some tunes (outside of the shower). Last year, though some area choruses brought members together over zoom, there wasn’t a concerted effort to recruit new singers. This summer, choruses are making plans to meet up in person for fall rehearsals again.

Local options include both friendly community choruses and formal singing groups that require auditions. (The details below are their current plans. Be aware that they have indicated plans could change based on Covid data trends this fall.)

In Southborough, there’s only one community chorus and it’s limited to a certain population —

Southborough Senior Songsters (No Auditions)

This singing group is affiliated with the Southborough Senior Center. Members are seniors over 60 years old:

The group is open to all area seniors regardless of singing ability. The only requirement is to enjoy singing. The rehearsals are a sing-a-long format led by Jim Duncan, pianist and director. Our repertoire consists of the old songs, favorites from the great musicals and recognizable timely favorites. . . If you love to sing we would love to have you in our group.

They meet will meet weekly at the Senior Center on most Tuesdays at 11:00 am, starting on September 7th. (Stay tuned for their fall newsletter for specific dates.)

The Senior Songsters put on sing-along shows each year, usually at the Senior Center and area nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the area. This fall they plan to entertain at Christopher Heights in Marlboro, The Artesian in Hudson and Beaumont in Westborough.  Their repertoire features “old songs, favorites from the great musicals and recognizable timely favorites”.

For non-senior adults, I can’t find any in-town options. So, here are some regional choral groups that welcome adult members from the Southborough community. 

The Northborough Area Community Chorus (No Auditions)

Their website shares that NACC “was formed in the spring of 1972 and has grown from a few hearty people of Adult Education Classes at Algonquin Regional High School, who enjoyed singing, to a spirited blend of 60 SATB voices. ”

The chorus now represents many local communities. They welcome new members 16 years of age and up regardless of age, ability, and background:

We share the joy of coming together to blend our voices in song and hearts in friendship. Auditions and the ability to read music are not required.

NACC will begin Fall Open Rehearsals in mid-September on Tuesdays from 7:30 – 9:30 pm (location TBD).

This July, the chorus celebrated its 50th season with a virtual program “Still Singing Together” under Director Elinor A. Armsby. It was aired on Northborough Cable access and can be viewed on YouTube:

The concert and chorus is supported in part with grants from the Southborough Cultural Arts Council (SCAC), plus Northborough, Westborough, Marlborough, and Shrewsbury Cultural Councils, which are all part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

For more information, visit www.nacc.net or check them out on Facebook.

Westborough Community Chorus (No Auditions)

http://www.mysouthborough.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Westborough-Community-Chorus-contributed.jpgFall rehearsals will be restricted to fully vaccinated singers only. They will begin on Wednesday, September 8 at 7:30 pm at the Westborough Senior Center. Subsequent rehearsals will be weekly on Monday evenings:

No auditions are required only the ability and desire to sing in a very committed and friendly community chorus.

The group will be preparing for the annual holiday show at the Gibbons Middle School the first weekend in December, “an engaging performance including costumed singers and colorful sets.” (My family enjoyed going to their annual Christmas and Spring concerts for years. Full disclosure, that’s because my father was a member until he relocated. He always said that it’s a wonderful way to have fun with people who share a love for singing.)

This is the Westborough Community Chorus’s 50th anniversary this year. The chorus was founded by Faith Newark and several of her friends as a community chorus welcoming singers who enjoyed performing popular music. Over the years the chorus has grown to 80 members including singers from not only Westborough but also many surrounding towns. Members range in age from early 20s to 80+ years young, with all levels of singing and musical experience. 

Recently, the board appointed a new chorus director. Andrew Milne recently graduated from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford with a Masters in music education and choral directing. He is currently teaching in the Harvard Public School’s music department. As a former Westborough High student, he was a recipient of WCC’s annual scholarships to aid aspiring young musicians in receiving music lessons.

You can find more information at westborochorus.com.

Assabet Valley Mastersingers (Auditions Required)

AVM from FacebookAVM is a regional chorus focusing on classical choral music. It prides itself as having “a reputation for musical excellence and unusual programming”. Members represent about twenty MetroWest towns and include professionally trained singers and members who have only school or church choir experience.

Although auditions are required to join, the chorus’ atmosphere is described as supportive and non-competitive:

AVM offers a choral experience in a community of welcoming, inclusive, respectful, collegial and talented vocalists who value high artistic standards.

Rehearsals begin soon in Northborough to prepare for an upcoming concert in October:

Potential members of ASSABET VALLEY MASTERSINGERS will be welcomed at open rehearsals . . . Come early so that you can meet the Membership chair, Deb Wallace and section leaders, and get music prior to rehearsal.

[Editor’s Note: I removed the details originally posted about the date and location. Those details have changed. Scroll to bottom for details.]*

See the announcement here for more details. For more information on AVM, visit www.avmsingers.org.

Shir Joy Chorus of Massachusetts (No Auditions)

SJCM is an about 20 member chorus dedicated to performing Jewish music:

The chorus is non-auditioned and is open to all people regardless of ethnicity or religious background. If you are interested in learning and performing music from the rich and varied Judaic cultures of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, we’re interested in you. SJCM envisions a musical organization dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture through performances and related activities.

Shir Joy’s Fall season will not begin until after the Jewish High Holidays. (That will begin October 3rd. Anyone is welcome to join the first two rehearsals, but they should reach out first to let the chorus know to expect them.) In general, rehearsals run from 6:00-8:00 pm on Sundays at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough. (Although, they recently resumed in-person rehearsals, depending on the situation this fall, they may revert back to zoom.) 

This summer, they promoted a virtual concert, now available on YouTube:

To celebrate Jewish Heritage Day at Polar Park in Worcester, Shir Joy will be singing at before the Woosox Game on August 22nd.

To learn more about the chorus, click here. To inquire about joining them, email ShirJoyMA@gmail.com.

If you know of other area singing groups accepting members that you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment.

Updated (9/1/21 9:52 am): AVM shared updated details for their rehearsals:

Out of care and concern for all, the Assabet Valley Mastersingers feel that the changing dynamics of COVID infections make it prudent to postpone in-person rehearsals. Open rehearsals have been postponed until Monday, September 13, 2021. We will welcome any interested vocalists at this time. The new rehearsal space will be the Robert E. Melican Middle
School, 145 Lincoln Street, Northborough. The AVM COVID protocol has also been updated. Masks are now required at all rehearsals and performances. AVM looks forward to performing for all in the near future.

In addition, I got confirmation I inserted above that Shir Joy’s rehearsals will begin October 3rd. Anyone is welcome to join them for the first two rehearsals. But they are asked to notify them first (at ShirJoyMA@gmail.com).

Updated (9/15/21 8:54 am): AVM shared another update:

It is with great pleasure that Shir Joy Chorus, Central MA’s Jewish Community Chorus, announces its return to live rehearsals, beginning October 3. Open rehearsals for anyone interested in singing with the group are welcome October 3 and 10.    

For details, click here.

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