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 Welcome From The Quinebaug Valley Singers!
QVS's Brand-New Christmas CD



Fans of the Quinebaug Valley Singers, those who bought the chorus's Spring/Summer CD I'll Fly Away, and anyone who loves Christmas choral music and appreciates diverse and original programming on a Christmas CD will be excited to learn that the chorus has just released its first professionally-produced holiday disc.  The full track list appears below.  

There are plenty of Christmas favorites here, of course; but there's also a fine Hanukkah piece (Peter Yarrow's "Light one candle"), and there are less familiar works from countries as diverse as Germany, France, and Kenya ("African Noel").  Genres range from pop ("White Christmas," in a spectacular arrangement with two pianists and chimes) to folk (the Breton piece "Joyful Mysteries") to classical ("And the glory of the Lord" from Handel's Messiah, in a quicksilver, dance-like performance) to black gospel (the rockin' "O Mary")--and more.

There's music for the Advent season ("The angel Gabriel," from the Basque region of southwest France), for contemplation (Morten Lauridsen's haunting "O magnum mysterium"), and for nostalgic reflection ("Have yourself a merry little Christmas").  The compositions take us into that Bethlehem manger on Christmas Eve, up into the hills where the shepherds keep watch over their flocks, and into the night skies where the star guiding the three kings shines so brightly.  

In all, there are seventeen choral pieces on the disc, and a wonderful bonus: a ten-minute piano improvisation on three of the songs by QVS accompanist Brooks Milgate.  Those who have heard Milgate's brilliant piano playing at QVS concerts will know what a treat they're in for here.  

Brightest and Best is truly a cornucopia of Christmas choral delights.  It will put you right into the Christmas mood--all the best Christmas moods--magic, anticipation, coziness, devotion, peacefulness, sheer excitement.  And it's the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family.  The CD costs only $10, and may be purchased from QVS Music Director Nym Cooke (please add $2 per copy for a padded envelope and postage).  Send your address and a check made out to Quinebaug Valley Singers to Nym at 290 Wine Road, New Braintree, Massachusetts 01531.

If you wish to purchase your copy/ies of the CD in person, without the added charge for postage etc., there will be copies available at the chorus's two Christmas concerts: at St. Joachim Chapel, St. Anne/St. Patrick Parish in Fiskdale on Saturday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m., and at the Charlton Baptist Church on Sunday, December 10 at 3 p.m. 



QVS during the recording of "Brightest and Best" - January 28, 2017


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Christmas 2017: A Blazing Star Did Shine

 The Quinebaug Valley Singers are in the thick of rehearsals for an upcoming pair of Christmas concerts: Saturday, December 9th at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Joachim Chapel of St. Anne/St. Patrick Parish in Fiskdale (corner of routes 20 and 148), and Sunday, December 10th at 3 p.m. at the Charlton Baptist Church on Hammond Hill Road, just off route 20.

This year’s choral offerings for the holiday season are unusually varied and rich. References to angels and stars abound—giving rise to the program’s title, which was drawn from one of the pieces, “Out of the orient crystal skies.” This is a program of mysterious, magical works—pieces where light blazes out of darkness, and where out of deep silence heavenly choirs sing—pieces that will transport you far away from the here and now of Christmas shopping and department-store Muzak. As Music Director Nym Cooke puts it, “Our music this time around favors the ancient and the timeless—the opposite of pop, the antithesis of commercial.”

Composers range from Johannes Eccard (b. 1553) to Daniel Kantor (b. 1960). The offerings include arrangements of English folksongs; a world premiere of a piece by Music Director Cooke; "In the bleak mid-winter" in two musical settings; an aria from Handel's Messiah sung (as it originally was) not by a female alto but by a male countertenor; "Gaudete! Christus est natus" from the 16th century; “A Christmas Carol” by American composer Charles Ives; and “Dark the Night,” with music from Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and a text by Cooke.

All but two of the pieces have never been sung previously by the Quinebaug Valley Singers. Half of them were suggested by members of the chorus, and half were selected by Music Director Cooke. QVS’s own Sarah Jo Burke will enliven several songs with her fine flute and drum playing. The concerts will start with the chorus’s youngest member, 14-year- old Audrey Clark, singing the opening verse of “Once in royal David’s city.” And of course they’ll end with everyone singing familiar Christmas carols together—a QVS tradition.

After the concerts, audience members are invited to join the singers to sample some delicious eats and drinks supplied by chorus members. The libation is free, as are the concerts themselves; a freewill offering will be collected at intermission. Both concert locations are handicap-accessible. Plan to arrive early to be sure of a seat!

For further information about these concerts, about becoming a Friend of QVS, or anything else relating to the chorus, folks are encouraged to email Nym Cooke (nymcooke@gmail.com) or QVS President KT Therrien (Kt2nc@aol.com). For more information about joining QVS, read on!  


JOINING AND SINGING WITH QVS

            The Quinebaug Valley Singers will begin rehearsing for their Spring 2018 concerts on Monday, February 5th at 7 p.m. in St. Anne's church at the corner of routes 20 and 148 in Fiskdale (Sturbridge), MA.  Just show up--we meet every Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Anne's--and you'll be given a packet of music, and be seated with other jolly singers of your vocal part.  

            QVS dues are modest--just $30 per singer per season.  Singers are asked to commit to attending as many rehearsals as possible, with a maximum number of two absences.  Individual vocal parts for almost all the pieces are accessible to chorus members on the Internet, and recordings of rehearsals are regularly posted as well.  Don't worry if you can't read music; many QVSers learn by ear.  QVS rehearsals and performances are scent-free events, as some of our members have allergies.