Reading — RCS artistic director, Beth Mosier, programmed an explosion of tunes celebrating love, and the Singers blew away the full house at Parker Middle School to finish their spring season. In honor of the Cinco de Mayo performance, La Presidente of the organization, Linda Lydecker, welcomed the crowd in both English and Spanish.
In June 2016, Broadway stars gathered to record “What the World Needs Now Is Love!” to raise money for the victims and loved ones of the Orlando shooting. Taking her cue from this expression of unity and sympathy, Beth put together a program of musical works featuring love and kicked it off with the same tune used in the Broadway celebration.
The Irish folk song “The Gartan Mother’s Melody” arranged for full chorus and solo flute played by Linda Lydecker was sung at the request of the bass Patrick Holland who won the right to choose a piece to perform by raising the most money in this year’s donor drive.
The choral highlights from “Sing,” a computer-animated musical comedy in which an anthropomorphic koala owns a theater, but after going bankrupt, he decides to host a singing competition with a prize of $1,000 to generate some cash. In spite of a continuing saga of difficulties, everything ends up well. In the RCS version, “Set It All Free” features two duos, sopranos Abby Santana and Elizabeth DeJesus and altos Kathryn Nowak and Anna Cosgrove. “Faith,” a hip-swinging, foot-stomping number, got the RCS dancers out on the floor showing off their moves. As usual, the pit band led by Joe Beninati backed the chorus in whatever style was required.
Fitting in with the evening’s theme, alto Kate Jenkins wrote a piece for the RCS, “Peace and Love,” which received its inaugural performance. Although she has composed other works, this is her first choral piece.
In order to support those students who want to continue their study of music, RCS each year awards a scholarship to an outstanding young musician. The winner of this year’s competition is Emily Cummings, a soprano from North Andover High School who is the president of the chorus, a member of the concert choir, and the audition-based Scarlet and Black Singers. She has been chosen for the National Association of Music Educators’ All-Nation Honor Choir and the Massachusetts All-State Chorus. Not content just to sing, she has also performed in theater productions in the community and in her high school. She thanks her teachers, Tiffany Baxter and Sara Durkin, for all they have taught her and her parents for their continued support.
Emily performed the English art song “Love’s Philosophy” by Roger Quilter, Mozart’s “Ridente la calma,” “Wie Melodien zieht es mir” by Brahms, and “Adele’s Laughing Song” from the operetta “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss II. She was accompanied by Peg DiGrazia.
In a medley from the “Phantom of the Opera,” soprano Kristina Rio and tenor Peter Mahoney sang the major roles in “Think of Me,” and soprano Kristin Webb and Tom Brukilacchio were featured in “All I Ask of You.”
To promote singing amongst the youngsters who will be the next generation of RCS, Mosier gathered a children’s chorus of sons and daughters, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews of RSC members for another Lloyd Webber piece. Hailey Allocco, Beatrice and Lilla Eliet, Elizabeth FitzPatrick, Kira Hart, Emma and Pete Koster, Ella and Olivia Murphy, Iska Nowak, and Elia, Francesca, Lily and Max Rizza all joyfully joined in on “Love Changes Everything.”
“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. All you need is love.” With John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s utopian viewpoint, the chorus lofted a cloud of red heart-shaped balloons to seal the sentiment of the evening.
Reading Community Singers (RCS) is a non-audition community chorus of over eighty voices, bringing together singers of all ages with a desire to share a love of music with the community. We perform two concert series each season, in the fall and spring. We also appear at various community events, sporting events, and volunteer performances.
Initially founded as the Women’s Choral Society in 1919, RCS is proud to be counted among the oldest continuously running choruses in the country. We celebrated our 90th anniversary in 2009, and the countdown to our 100th is just around the corner!
Come sing with us! All abilities are welcome, and you don’t need to be from Reading. We welcome anyone who loves to sing and can carry a tune and match pitch. We rehearse every Tuesday from 7:30 – 9:30 pm at the Old South United Methodist Church, 6 Salem Street, Reading. Spring session rehearsals begin January 16, 2018, with registration available at 6:45 for the first 3 rehearsals.