Jubilant in Song, Battenkill Chorale Turns 20!

Battenkill Chorale

8:00 pm • Saturday, April 25th 2015
4:00 pm • Sunday, April 26th 2015
Immaculate Conception Church • Hoosick Falls, NY

If you’re going to throw a concert because you’re turning 20, then you might as well make it wacky, wonderful, funny, ethereal, and sublime with a little something for everyone! And so does the Battenkill Chorale as it celebrates twenty years.

Under the artistic direction of Janet McGhee, the Battenkill Chorale brings its Twentieth Anniversary season to a conclusion with its “Greatest Hits – 20 Years of Celebrating Song.” A highly respected choral conductor, McGhee has prepared choirs for Seiji Ozawa, Peter Schickele, Gunther Schuller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Daniel Pinkham, Vladimir Vais (Bolshoi Theatre conductor), and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall in Boston, as well as numerous concert halls throughout the former Soviet Union, concertizing in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Irkutsk (Siberia), Uglich, Yerevan (Armenia), Tbilisi (Georgia), and Tallinn (Estonia). Before venturing to Upstate New York, McGhee resided in Boston keeping busy with various choral positions at New England Conservatory of Music, Clark University, Simmons College, and Berklee College of Music to being the Choirmaster for the Boston Summer Opera Company. Prior to retiring from the halls of academia, she was Director of the Choral Program and Lecturer in Music at Skidmore College and an Adjunct Professor of Music at Bennington College.

In a program note for this weekend’s performances, Janet McGhee reflects on the Battenkill Chorale’s beginnings:

When I moved to Cambridge, New York, from Boston, Massachusetts, in 1990, I thought my musical life was over. Motherhood, marriage, and country life would define my middle age. I was an urban snob. Five years later, I walked into Hubbard Hall’s main office and said, “I’d like to start a community chorus!” Given the green light, I hung out my shingle, hoping for about fifteen brave souls who might want to sing madrigals. I will never forget that first rehearsal at Hubbard Hall. One by one they ascended the stairs, the hall growing more electric with each entrance. They kept coming. I quickly ran out of music Forty-five people later, we began to rehearse. I was stunned …. Twenty years later, I am still stunned, as upwards of 100 singers ascend those same stairs to sing their hearts out every Thursday evening.”

Over its twenty year journey, there have been some ups and downs, but the Battenkill Chorale has taken its members far and wide. As McGhee notes, “from local churches to European concert halls, majestic cathedrals, Terezin concentration camp, the Kremlin and Russia.” Battenkill is a community chorus of 80-100 amateur singers from the North Country and Greater Capital Region that has performed with professional orchestras and soloists, commissioned works from American composers, and sung complex, sophisticated music. Not bad for the first twenty years!

The celebratory program includes favorite repertoire, soloists, and artisans from the Chorale’s 20-year history with works by Brahms, Mozart, Copland, Whitacre, Lauridsen and more, plus music from the Russian, Jewish, South African, and early American traditions. Here’s but a sampling of what will be performed at the two concerts this weekend:

  • Sergei Rachmaninoff — “Bogoroditse Devo” from All-Night Vigil
  • Alfred V. Fedak A Parting Blessing: Walk Softly upon the Earth
  • Daniel Pinkham — “Awake, O North Wind” from Wedding Cantata
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy — “He, Watching Over Israel” from Elijah
  • W.A. Mozart — “Là ci darem la mano” from Don Giovanni
  • W.A. Mozart — “Lacrymosa” from Requiem
  • Aaron CoplandChing-A-Ring Chaw
  • Charles E. Ives — “Old Home Day” from Five Street Songs
  • Eric Whitacre Sleep
  • Ben AllawayMy Soul is a River
  • Bobby TroupRoute 66
  • Norman Dello JoioA Jubilant Song

As he did at that first rehearsal at Hubbard Hall twenty years ago, pianist Erich Borden continues filling the role of accompanist and musical partner. Stepping forward this weekend are Battenkill Chorale soloists Amy Clark, Paul Lambert, Nicholas Lasoff, Bliss McIntosh, Katherine McNeice, and Carol Poppe. Soprano Gene Marie Callahan and mezzo soprano Susan Hermance Fedak join the Battenkill Chorale as featured guest soloists.

I know there are a lot of choices this weekend, but go partake in the wacky, wonderful, funny, ethereal, and sublime and help the Battenkill Chorale celebrate indeed!

Upcoming Events

  • Pianist Victoria von Arx: Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Liszt
  • University at Albany Performing Arts Center, Albany, NY
    Monday, April 27th 2015 at 7:00 pm

  • Classical Conversation: Joseph Dalton Talks “Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph”
  • Albany Public Library – Main Branch, Albany
    Tuesday, April 28th 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Union College Concerts: Emerson String Quartet / Bach, Purcell, Britten
  • Union College Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, NY
    Tuesday, April 28th 2015 at 7:30 pm

  • The Met’s “Live in HD”: Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana / Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Encore)
  • Regal Crossgates Stadium 18, Albany, NY
    Wednesday, April 29th 2015 at 6:30 pm

  • WMHT “No Ticket Required”: Hudson Valley Philharmonic perform Dvorák
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Friday, May 1st 2015 at 1:00 pm

  • The Met’s “Live in HD”: Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana / Leoncavallo’s Pagliaci (Encore)
  • Time & Space Limited*, Hudson, NY
    Saturday, May 2nd 2015 at 12:30 pm

  • Albany Pro Musica with the Capital District Youth Chorale: Requiems by Fauré and Torres-Santos
  • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
    Saturday, May 2nd 2015 at 7:30 pm

  • Hudson Valley Philharmonic: Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requeim
  • Bardavon, Poughkeepsie, NY
    Saturday, May 2nd 2015 at 8:00 pm

  • Soprano Anneliese von Goerken with Pianist Michael Clement: Barber, Callahan, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Desplat and more
  • Massry Center, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
    Saturday, May 2nd 2015 at 8:00 pm

  • Friends of Chamber Music: Enso String Quartet / Beethoven, Verdi, Whitehead and Wolf
  • Kiggins Hall, Emma Willard School, Troy, NY
    Sunday, May 3rd 2015 at 3:00 pm

  • Manhattan Piano Trio: Beethoven, Smetna, Martinu, Shostakovich and more
  • First United Methodist Church (schtdy), Schenectady, NY
    Sunday, May 3rd 2015 at 3:00 pm

  • Soprano Margaret Lampasi with Pianist Michael Clement: Heggie, Duke, Sondheim, Poulenc, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Leoncavallo and more
  • Massry Center, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
    Sunday, May 3rd 2015 at 3:00 pm

  • WMHT “No Ticket Required”: The Knights perform Barber
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Friday, May 8th 2015 at 1:00 pm

  • Project Trio
  • Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY
    Friday, May 8th 2015 at 8:00 pm

  • Zuill Bailey and Friends: Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Chopin
  • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
    Friday, May 8th 2015 at 8:00 pm