Brattleboro, Vt. - Friends of Music at Guilford invites singers and music lovers in the Tri-State region to start their holiday season at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, with the 46th annual Community Messiah Sing, a benefit for the homeless. Centre Congregational Church, at 193 Main Street in Brattleboro, has been home for the Sing since 1982 and for a few prior seasons as well.
Anthony Speranza, a resident of Vernon, led the Sing from 1989 through 2001 and again in 2010. His interest in conducting began as a 6-year member of the St. Kilian Boychoir and School in New York State (from age 7 to 13); he later earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in conducting, and was vocal music teacher for the town of Brattleboro for many years. William McKim, who has played the organ at this event for twenty-eight past seasons, and officially "retired" twice from doing so, now has his sights on continuing in this role as long as he can. Joyana Damon, in her eighteenth year as instrumental and classroom music teacher at Vernon Elementary School, and a performer with a number of Tri-State groups, will be featured on trumpet this season.
Vocal soloists this year are all Sing veterans. Soprano Elizabeth Wohl first sang at this event in 2013 and has been featured in a later December sing in Bellows Falls as well; a healthcare lawyer by profession, she recently combined singing with aerial silk performance at New England Center for Circus Arts. Alto Evelyn McLean was the soprano soloist for the very first sing and for many subsequent seasons, more recently covering the alto arias from time to time; she has been featured in a wide variety of Friends of Music productions from a solo recital to lead roles in musical theater.
This year's tenor is James Anderson, who performed for the Sing in 2005, 2006, and 2015, enjoyed a long career in Europe as an operatic leading man; he now teaches voice, performs in a variety of concert settings, and directs musical productions for New England Youth Theatre. Returning to perform the bass solos is Cailin Marcel Manson, who serves as music director at The Putney School; he has also toured as a performer and master teacher in the U.S. and abroad, and is artistic director and conductor for a number of regional choral groups.
As many as 250 or more singers from the Tri-State region bring their copy of a Messiah vocal score, otherwise borrow or buy one at the door. Copies are available in advance online or at regional music shops. A number of other folks just come for the beautiful music and to enjoy the rich sound of such an enormous choir. Water is the only beverage allowed in the sanctuary; a supply of bottled water is also available for purchase at the door.
All door donations at the Sing since 2007, a total of over $16,000, have been given to the Groundworks Collaborative (formerly the Morningside Shelter and Brattleboro Area Drop In Center) to support its programs serving the homeless at holiday time. Downtown shoppers and Sing attendees are invited to bring donations of nonperishable food; winter clothing, outerwear, and blankets; and new, unwrapped toys for sending on to Groundworks after the Sing.
This year’s Sing sponsors include Ruggles & Hunt, The Marina Restaurant, Richmond Auto Repair, Centre Church, Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, and C&S Wholesale Grocers, in addition to Friends of Music's 51st season media sponsors, Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council.
The Friends of Music Holiday Boutique is stocked with several series of Art Cards by local artists whose images have appeared on concert posters and season programs, a selection of CDs, and a variety of tote bags. Sales of these items support Friends of Music concert programs, many of which are offered on a donation basis to make them accessible to music lovers of modest means.
For further information, contact the Friends of Music office at (802) 254-3600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; visit online at www.fomag.org.