Classic Choral Society's 60th Annual Spring Concerts

Classic Choral Society's 60th Annual Spring Concerts
Type of post: Classic Choral Society news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Nancy Karp
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 29 2019
Spring concerts celebrate how a musical community effort founded Classic Choral Society 60 years ago

“Classic Choral Society isn’t the first community chorus based out of what is today known as the Blooming Grove United Church of Christ.  That would be the Washingtonville Singing Society founded back in 1820 – but we’ve been making music here continuously since 1959,” commented Janiece Kohler, artistic director of CCS.  “This spring we are excited to present three beautiful works that will show off the fine musicianship Classic Choral Society has become known for over the last six decades.”

Kohler shared how the Choral Society organically grew out of a call for area singers to take part in a presentation of Handel’s Messiah during the summer of 1959 in celebration of church’s bicentennial.  “The concert was so enthusiastically received, and the singers had such a wonderful experience they decide on the spot to form an official choral ensemble, and they took the name ‘Classic Choral Society’ to describe their desire to focus on performances of classical choral works – a challenge for any volunteer chorus to accomplish, especially with non-auditioned singers.  But the goal was to give everyone the opportunity to sing great music, and to present their concerts to the public without the need for tickets – it was a very ambitious vision, and we’re proud to boast that we continue it today as we did in 1959.”

“Through the years, Classic Choral Society’s repertoire has expanded the definition of ‘classic’ to include brand new choral works, those which I believe are destined to become standards of the genre, ones both the chorus and audience has responded to most enthusiastically,” said Kohler.  “This spring the singers of Classic Choral Society and the Hudson Valley Strings, joined by oboist and long-time friend of CCS, Ann Churukian, will open the program to feature For a Breath of Ecstasy, an extended work by American composer Michael John Trotta, created last year to celebrate the centennial of Sara Teasdale’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Love Songs.” 

After a short intermission, Classic Choral Society will introduce Missa Popularis to East coast audiences - a mass by MÃ¥rten Jansson, the composer having been inspired by Swedish folk-dance styles and walking tunes of his homeland.  “Jansson takes the words of the Latin mass and sets them, almost lovingly, to original music that is hauntingly beautiful -- though, I will admit, sometimes quirky, while being inspiring and somehow comfortably familiar,” said Kohler.  “It contrasts very nicely with our final selection – an arrangement of Simple Gifts by Grant Cochran, which features the familiar Shaker song, but is surprisingly fresh in Cochran’s interpretation.  Pianist Cherwyn Ambuter, accompanist for Classic Choral Society, will join the entire chorus and string ensemble for this finale.”

“Classic Choral Society continues its long and unbroken commitment to performances of wonderful choral music with a dedication to the highest level of musicianship, and no tickets needed to attend our concerts,” said Kohler.  There will be two opportunities to enjoy the Choral Society’s 60th anniversary spring concerts: Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 4 pm at United Church of Christ, 2 Old Dominion Road, Blooming Grove, NY; and Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 4 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 33 Park Place, Goshen, NY.  The May 12 concert will be followed by a special, catered “Meet and Greet” for all in attendance, courtesy of Mr. Alan R. Thompson of Goshen (NY).  No tickets are required at either concert; donations are welcomed during intermission.  For more information contact the Choral Society at 845-713-4543 or – or visit  CCS is also on Facebook and YouTube.