By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Region – “Building Bridges” is the theme for the 41st season of the Assabet Valley Mastersingers (AVM). The group is currently rehearsing for their first concert Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Congregation B’nai Shalom, 117 East Main St. in Westborough. The concert dubbed “Building Traditions: From Psalms to Mass” will feature composer Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms – fusing Jewish and Christian choral traditions.
The “Building Bridges” theme essentially is about bringing people together, much like the AVM, a community of like-minded local musicians who have come together over a shared love of choral music.
Under the direction of Dr. Robert Eaton, the artistic director and founder who established the choir in 1978, it has thrived and has consistently shared the gift of choral music.
“There is an aspect to this group of keeping this genre alive and healthy and people that enjoy classical choral music have an outlet that is right here in the Assabet Valley,” remarked Craig Cox, vocalist with the choir.
“We’ve tried to, in recent years, become more socially involved and conscious of what we are doing,” Eaton commented. “Of the choruses in the area we are the only one that consistently does these major classical choral works.”
The choir is made up of around 65 singers representing the communities of the Assabet Valley.
“They are very diverse – some who have only sung in their church choir,” Eaton explained. “Then we have several people in their 20s and there are two that joined us this year who just out of college, and on the other end of the spectrum, we have two people who were in the original group. It never ceases to amaze me that these people still come out in the winter, but it’s just something that they have to do.”
“There is the joy about being a part of something bigger than yourself and making music in that context,” shared choir member Nancy LaPelle.
Other performances of the season include: Sunday, Dec. 15 – Handel’s Messiah at the First Church, 37 High St., Marlborough; Sunday, March 15 – “Bridges to Unity: We Are Not Alone” at the R.R. Jay Performing Arts Center at Saint John’s High School, 378 Main St., Shrewsbury, featuring a commissioned piece by local composer Cynthia Wong; Saturday, May 16 – “Bridges of the spirit: Glories of France” at the Pilgrim Church, 15 Common St., Southborough.
For more information about the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, their performances, to purchase tickets or to support them, visit www.avmsingers.org.