By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – This March will mark the 70th anniversary of Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank losing her life at age 15 in a Nazi concentration camp as a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. On Sunday March 8, at 3;45 p.m., the Assabet Valley Mastersingers (AVM) will present “Annelies” at St. Mark’s School in Southborough. The choral work with a libretto by Melanie Challenger is based on “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.”
AVM is a regional chorus of about 75 vocalists representing over 20 communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough. Leading the chorus is Robert P. Eaton, AVM founder and artistic director, who served for 30 years as choral director at Algonquin Regional High School in the public school district of Northborough and Southborough.
Among the vocalists participating in the upcoming production is Alene Cole, publicity chair, who has been involved with AVM since it was founded in 1978. She appreciates Eaton’s unique direction.
“He’s quite a treasure,” she said. “He has a particular skill in finding the characteristics of individual voices. You would think with a chorus of 75 or so that we’d all be indistinct, but not with him.”
Susan Consoli, a soprano soloist with Boston Emmanuel for 13 years, will be featured in “Annelies.”
“Her role in this production is the voice of Anne,” Cole explained. “When she’s singing, it’s Anne’s words from her diary to set the mood.”
Also performing in “Annelies” will be the Shir Joy Chorus of Massachusetts, based in Westborough. Dedicated to sharing Jewish music primarily in central Massachusetts, the chorus is conducted by Wendy Damoulakis, Cole noted.
“This collaboration reflects our goal of trying to reach out to the groups that would find the subject matter most compelling, namely the Jewish community,” she said. “It’s an artistic collaboration; plus, we know that anything Wendy is involved with is high quality.”
Damoulakis was an original member of AVM and has directed the Westborough’s Hundredth Town Chorus since 1982. She taught elementary music in several communities including Grafton before retiring in 2012.
Also featuring an orchestra of about 30 instrumentalists, the concert will begin at 3:45 p.m. At 3 p.m., a pre-concert talk will be delivered by Dr. Joshua Jacobson, an authority on Jewish choral music.
“Dr. Jacobson’s knowledge of the subject will enhance the program notes that are in there, and will add to the experience,” Cole said.
Jacobson is a professor at Northeastern University and Hebrew College, and founder and artistic director of Zamir Chorale of Boston. He’s also an author and composer.
The concert is being produced with the support of grants from the Southborough Community Fund, a town fund of the Foundation for MetroWest, as well as the Avidia Charitable Foundation of Avidia Bank. Partial funding has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the local arts councils of Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough.
The handicapped-assessable auditorium at St. Mark’s School is located at 25 Marlboro Rd. in Southborough. Alternative parking will be available at Woodward Elementary School, 28 Cordaville Rd., with a free shuttle service. Large-print programs will also be available.
Concert tickets can be purchased at several locations: Serendipity in Hudson; Joy-Den Jewelers and Main Street Café in Marlborough; Shattuck Pharmacy in Northborough; English Garden Florist in Southborough; Shrewsbury Federal Credit Union in Shrewsbury; and Robinson Music Company in Westborough. Advance sale discounts are available at these sites through Thursday, March 5.
General admission is $25, and $20 for students and seniors. Tickets can also be ordered online at avmsingers.org. For more information, call 978-562-9838.