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Saratoga Arts Council funds Mohawk Valley Chamber Ensemble's Innovative Harmony Bridge Program

Project will link student musicians with older adult population; Masterclass and kickoff concert scheduled for Columbus Day weekend 2019. Click Here for Press Release

Christmas Tapestry: MVC's Musical Ode To Holiday and Peace (To view the Poster click here!)

"A Christmas Tapestry" not only opens the Mohawk Valley Chorus holiday season but also its 80th anniversary year celebration. And a big, musical holiday party is planned on three consecutive nights: Dec. 4 in Scotia, Dec. 5 in Johnstown and Dec. 6 in Amsterdam. Santa will take time from his busy schedule to drop in, to appear in "selfie" photographs and to hear from the children what they are hoping for this year. The MVC Kids, directed by Theresa Jackson and accompanied by Amanda Grab, will sing. Drummer Lenny Tobler and Tony Riccobono on bass will join MVC accompanist Bradley Gregg in backing up the chorus, directed by David M. Rossi. The concert itself, while offering many traditional holiday songs, including Peter Yarrow's rousing Hanukkah selection "Light One Candle," is also a testament to the peace and hope of the Christmas season. Rossi has done a masterful job in selecting songs for these troubled times. There's "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," based on the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem he wrote in a deeply depressed state caused by personal grief and concern over the Civil War. But as he penned the words in his Cambridge, Mass., home, he heard the bells tolling from a nearby church and, soon, his spirits began to rise, his faith overwhelmed his mood and despair became hope. Then there's the "Peaceful, Silent Night;" John Rutter's "Angels' Carol" that tells us "He will bring new light to a world in darkness;" an unusual arrangement by Jay Althouse of two songs, "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Peace on Earth." A new number, "December Prayer," which was co-written by Idina Menzel, reminds everyone that "hope and love are everywhere." Children will enjoy "Dominick, the Donkey" and the Kirby Shaw arrangement of "'Zat you, Santa Claus?" Older audience members will again be asked to join the chorus in performing Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," which has become a new MVC holiday tradition. Tickets for this year's concert are $15 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens and students. (Children, 12 and under, are free.) They are available, in advance, from chorus members and at the door for each performance: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Scotia Reformed Church; 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Johnstown High School; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at Amsterdam High School.
Santa will begin greeting guests 30 minutes before each performance begins.

Mohawk Valley Chorus: Wins State Grant

AMSTERDAM – Mohawk Valley Chorus was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the state’s Fulton-Montgomery Arts Grant program. The bulk of the financing was given for the community chorus’ March performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which featured a small orchestra. MVC will end its 2014-15 season on May 16 and 17 with a Pops concert at 7 p.m. the first night at the Scotia Reformed Church and at 3 p.m. the next day at Amsterdam High School. The grant program, administered by Saratoga Arts, is made possible by the state Council on the Arts with support from the governor’s office and the state Legislature.

Mohawk Valley Chorus, Groups Getting Ready for Holidays

AMSTERDAM – Mohawk Valley Chorus is preparing for the holiday season. “It’s a Wonderful Christmas” will be presented three times, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at the Scotia Reformed Church; at 7 the next night at Johnstown High School; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the United Presbyterian Church in Amsterdam. This will be the beginning of director David M. Rossi’s sixth year but the first for new accompanist Bradley Gregg, a Galway Central music teacher. Featured, besides the main chorus, will be the MVC Kids, directed by Theresa Jackson and accompanied by Amanda Grab. Both Jackson and Grab are chorus members. Among the selections for this year’s concert are unique arrangements of the traditional Silent Night and O Holy Night, a song from the hit movie “Frozen,” and John Rutter’s “A Gaelic Blessing.” The chorus will also sing “The Festival of Lights,” a Hannukah tribute by Johnny Priano and Aaron Gottier. Two other MVC-sponsored concerts are on tap for the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 14. The newly created Mohawk Valley Chamber Ensembles, directed by Stephanie Boice, will perform at noon that day in St. Stanislaus Church, Amsterdam, and the MVC Kids will join the River Valley Ringers for a 1 p.m. program at United Presbyterian Church. The ecumenical bell choir is directed by another MVC member, Margaret Lazarou. Tickets for the three MVC performances are available from any chorus member or at the door. Prices are $12 for general admission and $9 for senior citizens and full-time students. Youngsters, 12 and under, are admitted at no charge when accompanied by an adult.

Mohawk Valley Chorus Adds Chamber Groups to Music Organization

Mohawk Valley Chorus, founded in 1935, is adding a new branch to its musical tree. In the recent past, the 100-voice community chorus has sponsored a variety of singing groups, notably its Youth Chorale for high school-aged students and the MVC Kids, for children from 5 to 12. There was also a Junior Chorale at one time. And the Sentimentalists, an adult sextet comprised of chorus members, has been entertaining organizations and performing at special functions throughout the area for nearly 20 years. Now, the chorus has agreed to sponsor a corps of musicians under the banner of the Mohawk Valley Chamber Ensembles and the leadership of retired Amsterdam instrumental music teacher Stephanie Boice. At the present time, the ensembles include a saxophone ensemble, a mixed woodwind choir of flute, oboe and clarinets and a clarinet choir. It is possible that a brass ensemble and a group of percussionists will be added in the future. “This is a love of mine,” said Boice. “I’m very excited to do this, with the support and sponsorship of Mohawk Valley Chorus. It’s a way to get students to learn to play as a team and to provide them with more performing experience.” Chamber music is a form of music composed for a small group of instruments, traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber. Most broadly, she continued, it includes any art music – from jazz to classical, from show tunes to folk -- that is performed by a small number of musicians and promotes “the growth of basic musicianship in ensemble, blend, balance, intonation and, of course, experience.” Among those helping Boice in her endeavor are Richard China, a St. Rose College music graduate, and Theresa Jackson, a retired Amsterdam vocal music teacher and director of the MVC Kids. Both China and Jackson are MVC members. Additional information about the instrumental groups may be obtained by contacting Boice at Boice’s Woodwind Studio in Hagaman or calling her at (518) 331-7436

Emily Rosoff Wins MVC Scholarship

AMSTERDAM – Emily Rosoff, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, has been named winner of Mohawk Valley Chorus’ $500 scholarship. The 2013 winner, daughter of Amy Rosoff of Saratoga, plans to attend Westminster Choir College, part of Rider University, in the fall to pursue a degree in vocal music and a singing career. She has long been involved in musical activities and last year attained a near-perfect score of 99 at New York State School Music Association competition. She is president of the Saratoga Choraliers and has participated in the Suburban Council, Area All- State and All-County choral programs as well as the Saratoga Springs Children’s Choir and the Skidmore Choir. Besides her musical work at school, Rosoff takes private voice lessons with Susan Hermance Fedak and has a vocal range of nearly three octaves. “Emily is passionate about the field she has chosen to pursue in college,” wrote one of her references, “and has devoted many hours of practice and study to continue to improve her skills.” She was also cited as being “extremely dedicated to her music and ready to succeed in whatever the future holds” and a “steady and receptive learner with the amazing ability to quickly memorize pieces.” Another said her “vocal quality continues to develop but shows dramatic overtones while remaining flexible.” Rosoff will open MVC’s classics concert, featuring “Carmina Burana,” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, with two solo selections. The program will be at Amsterdam High School. Tickets -- $12 for adults; $9 for senior citizens and students; free to youngsters 12 and under when accompanied by an adult – will be available at the door.

Mohawk Valley Chorus Announces 3 Soloists For May ‘Carmina Burana’ (click here to view the Poster!)

AMSTERDAM – Three soloists will be featured in the Mohawk Valley Chorus-sponsored production of “Carmina Burana” May 19. MVC music director David M. Rossi announced that soprano Christina Pizzino-Catalano, baritone Michael Lotano and tenor Eric Christopher Perry will join Mohawk Valley, the Clifton Park Community Chorus, the MVC Youth Chorale and a group of Schenectady High Singers in the 3 p.m. performance at Amsterdam High School. Carl Orff’s popular arrangement, introduced in 1937, is a collection of 13th century poems and songs from vagrant monks and wandering scholars. The result, sung in German, Latin and French, is a musical parable of life, in constant change. Included are happy songs and sad songs; romantic, emotional and lusty love songs; songs of anger and bawdy drinking songs; as well as songs of beauty and songs of nature. Lotano, a former Schenectady resident, is a Shenendehowa Central music teacher and a popular soloist, who has appeared with the Octavo Singers, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society and the Russell Sage Singers. He’s also performed at the Cohoes Music Hall as well as with Park Playhouse, the Lake George Opera Co. and the Schenectady Light Opera Company, where he also directed “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” He’s also directed Shenendehowa Middle School shows. A music education graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he also attained his mater’s degree in vocal performance, Lotano teaches general music and chorus at Tesago School and also gives private voice lessons. Pizzino-Catalano, another Schenectadian, is a Niskayuna Central School music teacher and director of choral studies. She conducts the school choir, Ladies First, the Concert Chorale, Studio Singers and Bel Canto Voices while also appearing frequently throughout the area as a soloist. She has sung with Pro Musica, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Mohawk Valley Chorus and the Mendelssohn Club as well as the Middletown Civic Chorus and the Lebanon Symphony Orchestra, doing everything from operatic and classical pieces to contemporary show tunes. Besides her solo work, Pizzino-Catalano, a former MVC scholarship winner, has accompanied Niskayuna High School musicals, has been a conductor with American Music Abroad in Germany and Austria, chaired the Suburban Council Chorus and has served as a NYSSMA Choral Majors Festival chairman. She also maintains a private vocal studio and cantors at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church in Schenectady. She was graduated from Potsdam’s Crane School and attained her master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. The only out-of-towner is Perry, who is on the music faculty of Plymouth State University and Phillips Academy in Andover. He was previously a music teacher at the Arts Academy of the University of Ballarat in Australia. He was graduated from SUNY Fredonia and attained a master’s in vocal performance at Arizona State and one in choral conducting from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His performance background, doing mostly opera and classics, is extensive. Among the groups he has appeared with are the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Opera New Jersey, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Arizona Lyric Opera Theatre, Hamilton College’s Oratorio Society, Salisbury Singers of Worcester, the Fredonia Bach Consort, the Brookline Chorus, Pro-Musica Arizona, the Amherst Societatis-Oratorio and Boston Baroque. The May 19 program will be accompanied by two pianists, Alfred V. Fedak and Dian Dippold and six guest percussionists. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $9 for senior citizens and students. All youngsters, 12 and under, are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. The tickets are available at the door or, in advance, from Mohawk Valley Chorus and Clifton Park Community Chorus members.

MVC Kids, Youth Chorale Get Stewart’s Holiday Funds

AMSTERDAM – Two youth groups of Mohawk Valley Chorus were among the organizations receiving Holiday Match funds from Stewart’s. The $250 donation, representing donations from Stewart’s customers and a like amount from the company itself, will be used towards the purchase of risers to enhance performances of the two youth groups as well as the main chorus. MVC Kids, directed by Theresa Jackson, and the Youth Chorale, directed by Margaret Lazarou, perform throughout the year when asked by community groups and organizations, put on two annual concerts of their own and sing at the Mohawk Valley Chorus Christmas concert as well as at its annual pops concert, usually performed in May.