Here's what some members of the audience had to say after the thrilling concert on April 29:

"Fantastic! We really enjoyed every minute of it, including the pre-concert lecture!"

"Having the MHS Choir was an excellent idea."

"It was
a lovely concert and a sizable crowd – nice to see the auditorium nearly filled."

What did you think?
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The GMChorale, now beginning its fifth decade, and with more than 80 dedicated singers from 34 Connecticut communities, is known for taking a chance on lesser-known music and presenting it with  commitment and verve. 
On April 29, the singers of the Chorale, under the direction of Artistic Director Joseph D’Eugenio, performed Jephte, the exquisite but rarely-heard oratorio by early Baroque composer Giacomo Carissimi. After the performance, members of the audience who gathered in the lobby of the MHS Performing Arts Center in Middletown asked why this moving music is not performed more often. About a third of the audience were first-time attendees, some of whom had never before heard a concert of choral music.

The GMChorale has a long history of presenting “classic” choral masterworks, but the ensemble also embraces new music, especially in the form of commissions and special collaborations. In 2013, the GMChorale premiered a new oratorio, Letter from Italy, 1944, that had been commissioned by the Chorale of Connecticut Grammy nominee and composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder. Music has also been commissioned from well-known choral composers such as Gwyneth Walker, Eugenie Rocherolle, Peter Niedmann, Colin Britt, Ellen Gilson Voth, Lee McQuillan, and Henry Mollicone. 

“It’s easy to program familiar music,” said D’Eugenio, who has led the ensemble for twenty seasons. “It’s easy for the singers to prepare familiar music, and it’s easy for an audience to come to listen to an old favorite like Handel’s Messiah. And we love Messiah, too, and plan to perform it again soon. But at the GMChorale, we are also looking for every opportunity to broaden our experience as musicians, and to offer a wide variety of great choral music to the community, including music that other ensembles do not perform. Presenting Jephte was a great opportunity to make this happen.”
The GMChorale in concert, April 29, 2018
“In choosing to present Jephte, we knew we were taking a bit of a risk,” he added. “Who has even heard of this music, except for music scholars? Many of our singers were unfamiliar with the vocal techniques required to perform music from this period. And we knew that our audience might not know what to expect. So we took time to learn — and to share what we had learned.”

In a series of informative newsletters, easy-to-understand printed program notes, and a well-attended pre-concert talk by Dr. Neely Bruce, Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, the GMChorale shared information about Carissimi’s life, the stories behind his composition of Jephte, and how this music has had a profound influence on other composers, including Bach and Handel. Behind the scenes during the Chorale’s weekly rehearsals, D’Eugenio worked with the singers, providing guidance on how to understand and perform this old, rather obscure music.
Dr. Neely Bruce delivered an informative and entertaining pre-concert talk to more than 200 people on April 29.
“On April 29, when our singers performed this music with joy and passion, and when our audience responded so warmly and with genuine curiosity, we knew that the risk had been worth it,” said Nancy Schultz, a member of the ensemble and president of the GMChorale’s Board of Directors. “We were at first shocked, then thrilled, to see more than 200 people arrive early for Dr. Bruce’s pre-concert talk; clearly, our listeners were as eager as we were to learn more about this interesting, very beautiful music.”
The GMChorale in concert, April 29, 2018
The program also included instrumental solos by Edward Clark, harpsichord, and Tom Hudson, cello. These solos of Renaissance and Baroque music carried the listeners aurally acrross three centuries, from the selection of Renaissance madrigals to Carissimi's Baroque oratorio Jephte, to the Classical Te Deum of Haydn.
Following the concert, members of the audience were invited on stage to get a closer look at the Baroque-period instruments. Dozens took advantage of the opportunity, including children, lingering long after the final notes had died away to talk with the singers and with Baroque keyboard specialist Edward Clark, who encouraged everyone to peer inside the portative pipe organ and to learn a little about how a harpsichord works. 
Baroque keyboard specialist Edward Clark demonstrates the portative organ to members of the audience on April 29, 2018
In addition to Jephte, the program included a selection of springtime madrigals and the effervescent Te Deum of Franz Josef Haydn. The singers of the Middletown High School Concert Choir joined the GMChorale to perform the madrigals and the Te Deum. The younger singers also took center stage with a lively madrigal sung on their own under the direction of MHS Choral Director Stephanie Zak, who also sings in the GMChorale.
Singers from the Middletown High School Concert Choir joined the GMChorale to perform a selection of madrigals and Haydn's Te Deum.
"Rehearsing and performing alongside these young singers is a wonderful experience,” said Joyce Kirkpatrick, a charter member of the GMChorale and head of the organization’s development and fundraising programs. “They are the future of choral music, not only as singers, but as teachers and supporters and members of the future audience. We are grateful to make music with them, to share our love for the choral art, and to be inspired by their young voices.”

The concert was the final appearance by the GMChorale in the “Resounding Voices” 2017-2018 season, a series of concerts that highlighted some of the most strikingly beautiful music in the choral repertoire.

Don't Miss these Upcoming Events!

Though the full GMChorale has concluded its season, there's more music right around the corner! A concert on June 3 by Alchemy, the 24-voice vocal chamber of the GMChorale, will be given on Sunday, June 3, at 4:00pm, at the United Congregational Church of Tolland. The church’s chancel choir will join Alchemy for several selections on the program. Artistic Director Joseph D’Eugenio conducts. 

The GMChorale’s next major event is on Sunday, June 10; members and friends of the Chorale will gather at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown for a festive gala to celebrate the successful performance of Jephte, to mark Maestro D’Eugenio’s 20th season as Artistic Director, and to share news about the upcoming season. The public is invited to attend this special event; tickets are just $75 and reservations are required by May 26, 2018. Information is at and is also shown below.

The GMChorale’s 2018-2019 season will be announced soon. Music lovers are encouraged to join the GMC’s mailing list for earliest notice of next season’s concert dates. 

The GMChorale is grateful to John Marchand, who took the wonderful photos that grace this article. We'll be posting more of John's photos on the GMChorale's Facebook page and elsewhere. Thank, you, John!
Here are more comments from listeners who enjoyed the April 29 concert::

"Lovely and upbeat!"
"A joy to listen to this music."
"The quality of the sound was better than ever before; all the soloists were excellent – jewels!  Pianist Allan Conway was utterly fabulous!"

We'd like to hear from you, too! What did you think of the whole experience, from the pre-concert talk to the post-concert instrumental demos and lobby conversations? Reply to this email, or write to, or leave a comment at GMChorale.s Facebook or Twitter pages. Your comment might appear in the publicity materials for next season! (anonymously, of course!)
If you loved the concert on April 29 and are not yet a supporter of the GMChorale, please consider making a donation today at our secure donation site HERE or mail your check to the GMChorale office, P.O. Box 527, Middletown, CT 06457.

If you agree with the member of the audience who said, "That's the sort of chorus I'd like to sing with!" then keep an eye out for notice of the GMChorale's next round of 
auditions, coming up soon. We'll announce it in this newsletter, on social media, on the GMChorale website, and in public announcements.

If you would like to get to know the friendly people at the GMChorale, please join the members and  friends of the GMChorale - people just like you! - on June 10 to finish the season in style and to ensure a sound start for next season. Details below.
Join the fun at the GMChorale Gala!

Sunday, June 10, 2008

The Wadsworth Mansion
Middletown, CT

Tickets: $75
Reserve tickets by May 26
Savor fine food and drink, enjoy a little music, schmooze with the GMChorale's Artistic Director Joseph D'Eugenio, chat with the singers, have fun with fabulous auctions, and revel in the breathtaking beauty of the Wadsworth Mansion, exquisitely restored and nestled in one of the most scenic spots in Connecticut. On this special night, we will toast the beauties of choral music, celebrate with Maestro Joseph D'Eugenio as he concludes his 20th season as the Artistic Director of the GMChorale, hear about the music to be offered next season, and more! Join the fun and be part of the future of this remarkable organization! Reservations are required; order your tickets by May 26. Use the order form from your concert program book or order at the GMChorale website - just click on this black button: 
Yes! I want to join the fun on June 10 and support the GMC's bright future!
Copyright © 2018 Greater Middletown Chorale, All rights reserved.

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