A 75-voice-strong local chorus whose members represent 34 towns from Andover to Atkinson and Tewksbury to Topsfield is celebrating its 90th anniversary next year.
The Andover Choral group already is rehearsing for its traditional two concerts that will be held in January and May next year. The May concert will offer a unique anniversary angle as works by local composers will be featured.
A 90th anniversary is significant for any community-based chorus and one member of the Andover Choral group said the longevity is simply the commonality among members: They all truly love to sing.
"We also enjoy each other's company and enjoy welcoming new singers. For many of us, rehearsals are the time during the week that we can just forget everything else going on in our lives and in the world and come together through a love of music," said Andover Choral member Jennifer Hickman of Andover.
"Basically, we just have fun together. And from the historical accounts I've read of the group over its 90 years, it sounds like it that is, perhaps, our greatest tradition," Hickman added.
Since 1929, membership has been open to anyone with a love for great choral music and a desire to share that love with others. That's been the same simple membership requirement for all these years.
Andover Choral Society remains dedicated to presenting exceptional performances, connecting to the larger community, and fostering an appreciation of choral music. The chorus performs two concerts per year, singing a repertoire that focuses on fine choral and choral-orchestral works from the Baroque era to the present day.
High school juniors and seniors can sing with the Andover Choral Society through the the Choral Scholars Program. Funded by grants from several local cultural councils, the program is free to students from any town if they are currently in good standing in their high school choruses.
Plus, the group's current music director, Dr. Michael Driscoll, is very well regarded.
"Personally, I think what keeps us going is that we have a creative music director who not only fosters a love of singing, but also designs unique programs for the group," Hickman said.
The group’s spring concert, entitled “Becoming,” will focus on the diverse contributions of composers from the Merrimack Valley, featuring a new piece by local composer and Realtor Demetrius Spaneas.
The concert will also include works by Leonard Bernstein, a world-renowned composer and conductor who grew up in Lawrence, as well as other local composers with connections to Andover. The concert will be held Saturday, May 2, 2020, at 3 p.m.
Earlier in the year on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 at 3 p.m., Andover Choral Society will perform Joseph Haydn’s "The Creation." Considered one of Haydn’s most brilliant works, this jubilant and uplifting piece celebrates the creation of the earth, the seas, animals and humans.