(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Berkshire Lyric, one of the Berkshire’s longest running community arts organizations, kicks off its 50th anniversary season with a series of holiday concerts, including “Deck the Halls, The Christmas Concert,” on Sunday, December 9, 2012, at 3pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in downtown Pittsfield. On Saturday, December 8, at 11am, the Berkshire Singers, the teenage chorus of Berkshire Lyric, will be featured in a special concert at the Berkshire Museum. And on Saturday, December 29, at 3pm, Berkshire Lyric will present Handel’s Messiah as a community sing at the First United Methodist Church.
The 65-voice Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the 30-voice Blafield Children’s Chorus are conducted by artistic director Jack Brown and accompanied by Joe Rose. In keeping with the tradition of featuring local high school choruses at Sunday’s holiday concert, they will be joined by the Monument Mountain High School Chorus and the Spartones, both directed by Julie Bickford. There will also be a special appearance by Gaudeamus, an a cappella chorus of 10 young men from Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington that specializes in early music. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for students and children. They may be purchased online at Berkshire Lyric or at the church before the concert.
The Berkshire Singers, the teenage chorus of Berkshire Lyric, will be featured in a special concert at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday Dec. 8 at 11am. The chorus is led by Joe Rose and will be performing as part of the museum’s annual Festival of Trees Family Day celebration. Admission is free with a paid admission to the museum.
As part of the 50th Anniversary season, Berkshire Lyric will also present Handel’s Messiah as a community sing on Saturday Dec. 29 at 3pm at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield. The audience is invited to be the chorus. Vocal scores will be sold at the door. The concert will be conducted by Jack Brown with accompaniment on the church’s great Austin organ by Joe Rose. A professional string quartet will be augmented by local young string players. Four past winners of Berkshire Lyric’s Young Singers Competition will be the vocal soloists: Felicia Coppola-Pavao, Elaina Pullano, Miles Herr, and Timothy Passetto. Admission is by donation. The free will offering will be sponsored by the Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations, and all proceeds will directly benefit the Pittsfield Area Fuel Assistance Program.
Founded in 1963 by Robert Blafield, Berkshire Lyric is one of the Berkshire’s longest running community arts organizations. In addition to having four choruses for singers ages 6 to 83, it provides a wide range of creative music education programs including the Young Singers Competition, the Berkshire Lyric Choral Scholars Program and the annual Blafield Summer Choral Camps. This 50th Anniversary season will culminate in a gala concert at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall on June 9, 2013, with all of the choruses and special appearances by founder Robert Blafield and Berkshire Lyric protégé and world renowned soprano Maureen O’Flynn.