Northborough-based chorus ‘still singing together’ in 50th year

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Performing in the Northborough Area Community Chorus virtual program “Still Singing Together” are (top, l to r) Jan Capello, Eileen Dame, Kathy Horelik, Annie Carver, Mary Sullivan, (middle, l to r)  Anelise Merrihew, Mary Sewell, Gail Schuler, Paula Smith, (bottom, l to r) Dan Caruso, Robert Smith, George Pellerin and Shane Curran.

NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough Area Community Chorus (NACC) members began meeting in 1972 to rehearse for annual spring and Christmas concerts. Pandemic restrictions, however, prompted them to find different ways to continue their musical endeavors.

Now, NACC is preparing to resume in-person open rehearsals, which will run through mid-October.

Mary Sullivan, an active member for nearly 30 of NACC’s 50 years, serves as a board member and publicity chair. She’s among the NACC members who are adapting to recent challenges.

“This past year and a half was a very unique experience,” Sullivan acknowledged. “If something positive comes out of this, it’s the fact that we’re still together. Whereas, some other groups had just gone on hiatus.”

Marking their 50th season of choral performances, NACC appropriately named their new virtual program “Still Singing Together.”

This program is currently available on NACC’s Facebook page as well as on YouTube at “Northborough Area Community Chorus – Still Singing Together.” It’s also airing on public-access cable stations in Northborough, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough.

Making music for 50 years

NACC was founded in 1972 by Anthony Volpe of Westborough.

Volpe had worked as a music director in several school districts before joining the staff at Algonquin Regional High School.

Among his responsibilities at Algonquin was teaching an adult music education class. His adult students became NACC’s charter members.

“He enjoyed such a broad range of music,” Sullivan said of Volpe. “Several members of his family sang with the chorus.”

Volpe served as NACC’s artistic director until his retirement in May 2018. He died in April 2020. In lieu of flowers, his family suggested that mourners donate to NACC.

Elinor Armsby has been NACC’s artistic director since 2018. She also serves as music director for the First Church in Marlborough.

NACC is supported in part by grants from the Cultural Councils of Northborough, Marlborough, Southborough, Shrewsbury and Westborough.

“At one point in time, we had members from at least 15 different communities,” Sullivan noted,

Facing recent challenges

NACC’s most recent in-person, full-scale performance was their 48th annual Christmas concert titled “Sounds of the Season” in December 2019 at Algonquin.

The chorus had started rehearsing for their spring 2020 concert. Then, when the pandemic hit, rehearsals moved online and outdoors.

“We decided to do Zoom rehearsals and create a virtual program,” Sullivan explained. “The outdoor practices were easier for people who didn’t want to deal with the internet. We were very conscious of seating people six feet apart outside.”

Originally scheduled for spring 2020, this concert was ultimately presented virtually in December 2020. They titled their first virtual program “Stronger Together.”

Online rehearsals continued for NACC’s second virtual program, “Still Singing Together.”

These virtual programs were produced by Armsby along with NACC member Kathy Horelik.

Chorus welcomes new members

NACC will resume in-person rehearsals and welcomes new members ages 16 and up. No prior experience or audition is required.

Potential members are invited to attend open rehearsals on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 14 through mid-October. The location is to be determined.

The chorus wants the public to know that the pandemic hasn’t stopped them or their music.

“We’re still alive as a group,” Sullivan declared. “Those of us who are still performing virtually really look forward to continuing in-person.”

For more information and updates, call 571-331-0214, email nacc.sings@gmail.com, or visit nacc.net and facebook.com/northboroughareacommunitychorus.