At age 87, the joys and struggles of downtown's all-male chorus
Posted 1/29/2015

Down Town Glee Club; photo by Carl Glassman/Tribeca TribAn early photo of the Down Town Glee Club, an all-male singing group that began 87 years ago, shows its members onstage at Carnegie Hall. It is Christmas, 1950, and one can only imagine what a formidable sound those hundreds of men produced. Today, the club's members voices can still pack a punch. What strength they have lost is in their numbers. Some 18 to 20 men now belong to the club, which rehearses Tuesday nights at St. Margaret’s House on Fulton Street. They are one of only five men’s choruses left in the city; there were once scores.

“Everyone, it seemed, was in a glee club,” said Jerry Osterberg, who joined the group in 1980. JP Morgan, where Osterberg worked for 37 years, had its own all-men's glee club, and three of the company's executives also sang with the Down Town Glee Club and served as presidents. More...

David Hayes on the New York Choral Society's performance of St. Paul
Posted 1/22/2015

David HayesOn Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM at Carnegie Hall, The New York Choral Society and Orchestra and Music Director David Hayes will present the rarely heard St. Paul by Felix Mendelssohn. Soloists will include soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo-soprano Haejung Shin, tenor Vale Rideout, baritone Mark Delavan and the Princeton Girlchoir. David Hayes will conduct. This performance will be sung in the original German with English supertitles. Dan Dutcher and Nicole Guberman spoke with Mr. Hayes about the performance.

Dan Dutcher and Nicole Guberman: Can you tell us a little bit about what Mendelssohn's work means to you, and why you chose the piece?

David Hayes: In 1829, Mendelssohn revived Bach’s St. Matthew Passion after many years of study of Bach and, in particular, the chorale and fugue forms at which Bach excelled. In the wake of this momentous performance, one which kicked off the great 19th century Bach revival, Mendelssohn set about creating his first large-scale work, St. Paul. In this work he synthesized not only the oratorio and passion traditions of Bach, Handel and Haydn but sought to create something he thought lacking in contemporary operas and other large dramatic works: a work that edified and uplifted the listener. More...

Archive of old VAN Features

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  • CONCORA has announced the appointment of Christopher Shepard as its second Artistic Director, succeeding Artistic Director Emeritus Richard Coffey, who founded the ensemble as Connecticut's first all-professional choir in 1974. For more details, visit concora.org/. (2015-2-9)
  • Ward Swingle, founder of the Swingle Singers, famed for their scat renditions of Bach, Mozart and other classical composers, has died at age 87. Read his obituary in The New York Times. (2015-1-25)
  • Canterbury Choral Society has announced the death of its founder and longtime conductor Charles Dodsley Walker on January 17. Mr. Walker was 94. (2015-1-18)
  • On Saturday, January 24, Q2 Music presents the first of its monthly 24-hour marathons of 2015 with "Raised Voices," a tribute to today's wild, ravishingly beautiful music for vocal and choral ensemble. Hosted by Helga Davis, the marathon repeats Friday, January 30. Q2 Music is WQXR's online music station devoted to dynamic contemporary classical music, trailblazing ensembles and vibrant, live performances from New York City's leading new-music venues. Have a favorite contemporary choral work you'd like to hear? Submit your suggestion at www.wqxr.org/#!/story/choral-fixation-24-hours-new-music-voice/. (2015-1-13)
  • Read "Is Faith Required to Perform Sacred Classical Music," an article by Brian Wise and Naomi Lewin, at www.wqxr.org/#!/story/faith-required-perform-sacred-classical-music/. (2014-11-30)

Archive of old "News" items

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The latest additions to the site's content and features.
  • March 4, 2015: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for the Island Hills Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International in Hauppauge, NY.
  • February 25, 2015: New link for The Diction Police, a site offering singers tools for improving diction.
  • February 13, 2015: New link for Singing in Theater, a resource page for singers. Thanks to Courtney Phillips and her kids at afterschoolcareprograms.com for the suggestion.
  • February 12, 2015: New Choir Directory listing for Shore Voices, a women's a cappella ensemble based in Middletown, NJ.
  • February 2, 2015: New link for the Yale International Choral Festival, coming up in June 2015 in New Haven, CT.
  • January 29, 2015: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for North River Sing, a community chorus in Jersey City dedicated to the Great American Songbook.
  • January 26, 2015: New link for The Singing Experience, workshops for aspiring singers conducted by Linda Amiel Burns.
  • January 22, 2015: New link for ChoirFestivals.info, an online directory of choir festivals.
  • January 13, 2015: New link for Choir-Mart Accessories, offering concert-wear for choirs. New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for the Children's Jazz Choir of NYC.
  • December 24, 2014: New Choir Directory listing for New York Chamber Choirs, a new venture directed by Alistair Hamilton.

Archive of old "New on VAN" items

See also the Info Exchange.
  • Need some exquisite beaded jewelry to complement your concert attire? Or perhaps a distinctive gift for that special singer in your life? Or maybe you'd like to host a jewelry show to benefit your favorite non-profit organization? Try Carnelian Knoll, where you'll find necklaces, bracelets and earrings of vintage beads and silver handcrafted by Julie Siegmund.
  • Looking for rehearsal space or performance venues? Try NYC Music Spaces, New York City's free database of available rehearsal and performance spaces for instrumental and vocal musicians. You'll find places to rent, from studios to large venues, for classical, jazz, rock--whatever you need to rehearse or perform in NYC.
  • Looking for an outstanding vocal ensemble coach? Mark Johnson, possessor of an amazing ear and terrific interpretive insights in a variety of styles, is available to coach your group. To arrange for Mark's services, e-mail Colette Thompson.
  • Liz Fleischer's Sight-Singing Program is offered each season at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street). Classes include ear-training, rhythm and pitch reading, music theory, basic notation and terminology, with emphasis on learning to hold a part with confidence. For more info, visit www.kaufman-center.org/lucyadults_mus_sight.htm, e-mail fleischerliz@aol.com or adultdivision@kaufman-center.org or call (212) 501-3362. The sight-singing program is just one of the classes offered by the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School.

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