Northborough Area Community Chorus to mark 50th spring concert

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Mary Sewell (center) performs with other members of the Northborough Area Community Chorus at a past concert. (Photo/submitted)

NORTHBOROUGH – The Northborough Area Community Chorus (NACC) debuted with a spring show in 1972. Now, rehearsals are underway for its 50th anniversary spring concert titled “Yesterday & Today.”

The concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m., at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. Admission is still only $5.

Current NACC singers represent 16 communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury and Westborough. Some former chorus members will return to the stage to celebrate NACC’s 50th anniversary. 

Perspective from longtime chorus member

Mary Desautels of Northborough joined NACC in 1973 when its founder Anthony Volpe served as artistic director.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I got hooked,” she said of her first NACC rehearsal. “We were happy to be singing and I loved it. I’m doing something that I know how to do and enjoy.”

Desautels is now NACC’s historian.

“We’ve learned a lot about music, taken theater trips, sang in different languages – and, of course, formed friendships,” she recounted. “We’re like family.”

When NACC needed a new piano accompanist in 1994, Desautels recommended Shrewsbury resident David Rose based on their working relationship at a community theater. Rose continued as NACC’s accompanist up to 2018, when he and Volpe retired.

Elinor Armsby retired as NACC’s director after its Christmas 2021 concert. 

Welcoming new director 

Rose is now directing NACC’s upcoming spring concert. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.

“David is an excellent music director,” Desautels said. “He’s patient, kind and certainly capable of directing a large chorus.”

Also welcoming Rose to the director position is Northborough resident Mary Sullivan, NACC’s publicity chair and a board member.

“Even though David is a banker by trade, he has been into music since he was a little boy,” she noted. “He really helps us express what the music is all about.” 

Spotlight on 50th spring show

“Yesterday & Today” includes songs that NACC has performed throughout five decades. Among the diverse repertoire are tunes from Broadway shows ranging from “Into the Woods” to “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Also featured are Oscar and Grammy Award winners for best original song. They include “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Evergreen” from the 1976-released “A Star Is Born” and the John Williams composition “Can You Read My Mind” from “Superman.”

Another concert highlight is founder Volpe’s musical adaptation of the Robert Frost poem “A Minor Bird.”

“This concert is meant to be uplifting,” Sullivan explained. “There’s all sorts of strains that people go through in their daily lives. We like to think that we’re bringing them a little bit of happiness.”

Rounding out the creative team is accompanist Mark Bartlett. 

NACC is supported in part by grants from the Northborough, Marlborough, Shrewsbury and Southborough Cultural Councils, which are partially supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

For more information or concert tickets, call NACC at 571-331-0214 or 774-249-2497, or visit nacc.net or facebook.com/northboroughareacommunitychorus. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

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