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Arts & Culture

Top Choirs In Connecticut

December 17, 2013 7:00 AM

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(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Connecticut is home to the oldest continually singing choir in the nation, as well as to many other magnificent choral groups that cover everything from the baroque to Broadway. Choirs that bring together community singers and choirs that train young voices can be found in many parts of the state. Here are but five of the many great choirs of Connecticut.

The Mendelssohn Choir Of Connecticut
www.mendelssohnchoir.com

For over a quarter of a century, this professional-sounding choir has enchanted and uplifted listeners who have flocked to hear its magnificent classical and baroque stylings. While it does perform popular standards and contemporary works, it is not a coincidence that it takes its name from a great composer of the old school. With nearly 70 members, the full choir is as majestic to see as it is to hear – but The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut does more than just grand concerts – its Mendelssingers mini-group of 16 performs in much smaller venues including hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The Mendelssohn Choir performs at churches, libraries, community centers and concert halls throughout Fairfield County, and while religious-themed music of the classical and baroque era is at the top of its repertoire, it also performs delightful Christmas concerts – and a combination of the two, as it will on December 14 when it performs at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Fairfield.

The Connecticut Choral Society
www.ctchoralsociety.org

With 120 individual voices blending together into one majestic sound, patrons of the Connecticut Choral Society can be excused for thinking they have gone to heaven – for its sound is decidedly heavenly, even when not performing religious music. Who knew that the theme song to “The Polar Express” could slip so seamlessly into a performance that includes “O Come, Come Emmanuel” and “I Saw Three Ships”? Anyone who makes it to the Christmas concerts on December 21 and 22 (at the North Congregational Church in Woodbury and First Congregational in Danbury, respectively) will understand that for themselves.

The Connecticut Choral Society has been singing since 1980, and is famous in and outside of the state – and the country, as it has appeared in many of the great concert halls of Europe, as well as at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Next year, it will headline a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which will be held in Rouen, France, not far from the beaches of Normandy.

The Concert Choir Of Northeastern Connecticut
www.concertchoirnect.org

Christmas is the busiest season for choirs, and this year the Concert Choir of Northeastern Connecticut can be heard singing songs of the season on December 8 at the Putnam Congregational Church in the town of the same name. Like so many choirs, however, this one, which has been around for over half a century, has a much broader repertoire than just holiday tunes. The choir presents at least two concerts a year, and has been hailed by music critics and members of the Hartford Symphony for its versatility and depth. With members ranging in age from early teens through octogenarians, this non-profit group, which simply refers to itself as “The Choir” as its bylaws state, was formed “to provide the opportunity for members to learn and refine choral singing skills and to educate audiences through the presentation of concerts of choral music, sacred and secular.” The even higher goal, which the group has met for 59 years, is to “deepen and enlarge the artistic engagement of the communities of Northeastern Connecticut.” When “The Choir” sings, the “quiet corner” of the state is anything but quiet.

Connecticut Children’s Chorus
www.harttweb.hartford.edu

How glorious and angelic the sound of children, and the Connecticut Children’s Chorus magnifies that six times over, with not one or two but half a dozen unique groups within its society. Grouped by grade or, in the case of the Primi Voce and Men’s Chorus, for children with treble or changing voices (respectively), these choirs allow children of all ages and ranges a musical voice. This is no amateur society, but a training school for young voices. Director Dr. Stuart Younse has taken this already beautiful musical instrument to a new level, as it is now the official children’s choir of the Hartford Symphony. Next year, members of the choir will travel abroad for a singing tour of Ireland.

Choir Of Men And Boys
www.trinitynewhaven.org

The Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest continually singing choir in the state – and one of the oldest in the country. Formed at Trinity Church in the Episcopal Diocese of New Haven over 125 years ago, this group has been singing at services and in concerts since 1885.  The choir also performs at many fundraisers for worthy organizations; including most recently the Newington Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. The choir has toured the U.S. and Europe, participating in both cathedral choir events and performing at concert halls. Although religious in organization and tone, the Choir of Men and Boys has a sense of whimsy as well.

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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