Mozart returns this weekend at Springfield Community Chorus concerts
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | May 04,2013
SPRINGFIELD — It’s been roughly 20 years since the Springfield Community Chorus performed music by the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Now the wait is over, according to music director Ken Olsson.
The Springfield Community Chorus, now entering its 46th year, will sing Mozart selections at 7 p.m. Saturday at the White Church in Grafton and 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Springfield. Both concerts are free to the public.
“I chose Mozart over a year ago,” Olsson said. “I came up with a plan for the next three concerts, we performed a musical theater last spring and a cappella at the Christmas concert, and it was all in preparation for Mozart’s Requiem.”
Olsson selected three renowned Mozart pieces. The concerts begin with “Laudate Dominum,” meaning “Praise the Lord” in Latin. Julie Olsson will be soprano soloist.
The second piece is “Ave Verum Corpus:” “Hail the true body” in Latin. The third and final piece is Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, a commemoration of the dead, according to Olsson.
“In the first movement, we normally ask for an eternal rest of the departed and that the perpetual light may shine on them. I offer it to those who lost loved ones both from natural and unnatural causes and that the perpetual light shine true on all of us,” Olsson said.
There are 45 members performing in the 2013 Springfield Community Chorus. Many performers are from Chester and Springfield but others are from Ludlow, Weston, Peru, Jamaica and Walpole, N.H., Olsson said.
Although the Springfield Community Chorus got its start in the late 1960s, its roots can actually be traced back a decade earlier. According to Estelle Goding of Springfield, several church choirs performed together at an annual Palm Sunday concert in the Springfield area during the 1950s.
Their singing went beyond Palm Sunday performances and choir members would meet regularly, rehearse and sometimes perform. According to Goding, the group finished a spring performance in 1967 and they asked their director, Victoria LeMay, if they could continue and LeMay agreed to do a fall concert in 1967.
LeMay became the first chorus director and was at the helm for the chorus’s first 20 years. Deidre Hiltsley was the second chorus director for the next 19 years and Candace Montessi was the third chorus director for the next five years.
Olsson is now in his second year at the Springfield Community Chorus and is amazed at the talent they show at every spring and fall concert.
“They’re not a professional chorus but they’ve risen to the challenge and they have worked so hard. There are times in rehearsal that I forget I’m listening to a community chorus. It’s exciting,” Olsson said.