By Christian Yapor, Daily News Staff
MENDON – As the town continues its 350th Anniversary celebrations, the Mendon Cultural Council is making arrangements for the “Mother Mendon Sings” chorus concert on March 25 at 7 p.m.
According to Joyce Firth, chairman of the Cultural Council, the chorus concert started out as a small celebration for the town, but the concert will feature about 150 adult voices, and about 80 children’s voices. The concert which will take place at Valley Chapel, located on 14 Hunter Road in Uxbridge.
Participants in the large event will come from all nine towns that originally made up ‘Mother Mendon,’ including Mendon, Bellingham, Upton, Uxbridge, Northbridge, Milford, Blackstone, Hopedale, and Millville.
“This is a unique opportunity to bring the towns together,” said Firth. “It’s like a family reunion.”
The first half of the concert will be performed by established adult choruses including: Blackstone Valley Community Chorus, Mendon Minstrels, Greater Milford Community Chorus and Bellingham Community Chorus. The second half of the concert will feature the children’s chorus.
“I’m really touched about how other towns are so on board with this program,” said Firth.
The Cultural Council is still looking to fill two to three high school student chorus spots, and no more than 80 children to sing in the chorus from elementary schools and junior high schools from all nine towns. These students will only be selected by their respective school’s music educators. Children in the chorus will each wear a colored accessory that will represent the town they are from, so that the audience will see the visual blending of the towns.
“It’s really important that we get children from these towns,” said Firth.
The children’s chorus will also sing the winning piece in the Mendon 350th Composers’ Competition, which is a nationwide event. The piece will be performed by regional school students, professional accompanist Wayne Ward of Uxbridge, and be conducted by Simeon Morrow, from Chicago. The winning composer of the selected composition will be awarded $1,000.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity for young composers to have their music heard,” said Morrow. “It’s very important to leave a legacy behind.”
Entries for the Composers’ Competition must be received before Jan. 15, the piece must be two to five minutes long, the work must be based on the provided excerpt from a formal toast written in 1867 by Putnam W. Taft, of Worcester, and entries must be original and unpublished works. Entries in the competition will be judged by distinguished jurors Samuel Adler, from Perrysburg, Ohio, and Richard Cornell, from Lincoln.
For a complete list of Composer Competition rules, visit Mendon350.com.
Morrow said the songs that will be sung during the concert will mirror Mendon’s history in music, and chorus plans to take the audience on a musical journey.
Songs the Adult chorus will sing include:
– “Hallelujah” by George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
– “Chester” by William Billings arranged by Jay Althouse (1770) – “Simple Gifts” by Joseph Brackett (1848)
– “The Ballad of the Underground Railroad” by Rene Boyer-Alexander
– “Banjo On My Knee” by Stephen C. Foster arranged by Larry Shackley (1848) –
“Shenandoah” by Traditional arranged by Jeff Funk (Early 1900’s)
The children’s chorus will sing:
– “When I Close My Eyes” by Jim Papoulis and Francisco Nunez
– “On Top of Old Smoke”
– “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”
– “Yankee Doodle”
The chorus will end with the children singing the winning composer’s composition piece, the Star Spangled Banner, sung by select chorus, and God Bless America, sung by all chorus members.
Tickets will be available starting Feb. 1 at both the 350th store located on 1 Maple St., or at .
“It is a community event, and we are hoping to praise what is inherited, and leave a legacy for the next celebration,” said Morrow.
Christian Yapor can be reached at 508-634-7521 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianYapor.