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History & Timeline of The Chorus of Westerly

George Kent, a graduate student at New England Conservatory,

founds the Chorus of Westerly.  Concerts are held either in Christ Church

Westerly, or in the auditorium of Stonington High School

(both inadequate spaces). 


The orchestra is made up of New England Conservatory students. 

The Chorus includes in its membership one-third children ages 8 - 16,

two-thirds adults of all ages, a practice which continues to the present day. 

Adults rehearse once a week for two hours.  Children rehearse twice a week

for one hour and attend an 8-day Music Camp directed each August. 

During the early years of the Chorus, the camp was held at a YMCA Camp,

Wind in the Pines, near Worcester, Massachusetts.

Season 1  
Handel - Dettingen Te Deum
Gabrieli - In Ecclesiis
Fauré - Requiem
Pops Concert in Wilcox Park


The Chorus includes in its membership 80 adults and 50 children.  The Chorus is officially incorporated.  The Chorus performs the full Messiah, in two parts, with dinner served in between. The Chorus performs a full-staged musical to an audience of 2500.


Season 2
Vaughan Williams Hodie
Handel - Messiah
Lerner and Loewe - Brigadoon


Season 3

Britten - Ceremony of Carols
J.S. Bach - Magnificat in D, An Anthology of Sacred Music
Purcell - Come Ye Sons of Art
Thompson - Alleluia
Vaughan Williams - Toward the Unknown Region


The Chorus holds its first Annual Fund Drive.  Donors include 371 individual donors and 146 business donors.  The Chorus stages the Menotti Opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, at Stonington High School.  With the Beethoven concert, the Chorus begins to hire professional musicians; the long-time association with the Boston Festival Orchestra begins.


Season 4
Vivaldi - Gloria
Menotti - Amahl and the Night Visitors
Beethoven - Mass in C
Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on Christmas Carols


Season 5

Honegger - Une Cantate de Noel (A Christmas Cantata)
Brahms - German Requiem


The Annual Fund Drive raises $5,365.00

Season 6  
Kodaly - Missa Brevis
Poulenc - Gloria
Vaughan Williams - Hodie


Chorus leadership finds Camp Ogontz in Lisbon, New Hampshire,  and children attend for the first time for their week long pre-season choir camp. The Chorus brochure, designed by Malcolm Grear, wins Merit Award at Art Director's Club Competition, Providence.  Annual Drive raises $6,051.25. Pictured to the right, Don Friend, longtime Waterfront Director at Ogontz.


Season 7
Mozart - Coronation Mass
Debussy - The Blessed Damozel
Durufle - Requiem  
Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Bach - Magnificat in D


Season 8

Haydn - Mass in Time Of War,  Mass in D, "Nelson"
Bach - Christmas Oratorio, Part I


Season 9

J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio, Part IV; Cantata 1 ,"Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.": Cantata 50, "Nun ist das Heil." 
Vaughan Williams - Serenade to Music
Britten - Spring Symphony


The Chorus begins an association with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, performing with them once each season, while continuing our own association with the Boston Festival Orchestra. George Kent is awarded a Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant in order to study the British choral tradition. As part of the grant, Kent's studies are carried out in Cambridge, England, at King's College Chapel, Cambridge University. Kent studies and trains with Sir David Willcocks, director of the King's College Chapel Choir, beginning Kent and the Chorus's "British Connection" and a relationship with Britain's leading choral director that lasts to this day.


The Chorus performs its first concert in the former Immaculate Conception Church (1886), which has marvelous acoustics and which is to eventually become the Chorus's permanent performance home (today it is the George Kent Performance Hall).

Season 10
Vaughan Williams - Hodie (with R.I. Philharmonic) 
Beethoven - Mass in C
Faure - Requiem
Handel - Coronation Anthems: Zadok the Priest, The King Shall Rejoice
Vaughn Williams - Flos Campi
Poulenc - Secheresses


Season 11

Handel - Messiah
Honegger - Christmas Cantata
Brahms - A German Requiem 


Chorus sings Beethoven's Ninth with R.I. Philharmonic in Providence.  Chorus children respond well to this challenge.  George Kent is awarded a Faculty Grant for Study by the University of Rhode Island and returns to Cambridge for a period to study the British choral tradition with Sir David Willcocks.


Season 12
Beethoven - Ninth Symphony (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Britten - St. Nicolas
Vaughan Williams - Sancta Civita, Five Mystical Songs, Toward the Unknown Region


Chorus is invited to perform the Haydn Nelson Mass in Providence for the Centennial of LaSalle Academy.


Season 13
Honegger - Christmas Cantata (RI Philharmonic)
J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Handel - Zadok the Priest
Haydn - Mass in D, "Nelson" (for LaSalle Academy in Providence)
Berlioz - Requiem (Performed at the University of Rhode Island)


Chorus is informed that the former Immaculate Conception Church is to be torn down.  The Chorus leases it for one year.  Owner agrees to delay demolition until 1973.  Chorus performs first Celebration of Twelfth Night  (with Cambridge Mummers, Carol Langstaff, directing). Annual Drive raises $11,151.00.


Season 14
Charpentier - Te Deum
Purcell - Come Ye Sons of Art
J.S. Bach - Cantata 82 "Ich habe genug"; Cantata 137 "Loben den Herren."
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Mahler - Symphony No. 2 (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Honegger - King David
J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (with R.I. Philharmonic)


Members of the Chorus organize the Center for the Arts to own the former Immaculate Conception Church and to become a Presenting Organization.  Center for the Arts purchases the historic church for $40,000,00.  Building is named to the National Register for Historic Places, the name of the church/hall is officially changed to The Center for the Arts.


Season 15
Gabrieli - Jubilate Deo, In Ecclesiis
Allegri - Miserere
Hindemith - Apparebit Repentina Dies
Duruflé - Requiem
Debussy - The Blessed Damozel


This was the Christmas that the Chorus performed, with the Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce, its one and only indoor Christmas Pageant with large and vocal live animals (steer, sheep, donkey) and a live and lustily crying Baby Jesus. One week later, the Britten St. Nicolas was performed.


Season 16
Britten - St. Nicolas
Mahler  - Symphony III (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Walton - Belshazzar's Feast


The Rhode Island Philharmonic comes to Westerly to perform  Beethoven's Ninth in honor of its thirtieth anniversary. The youngest member of the Chorus is 8 years old, the oldest is 83.The Chorus sings the giant of the choral repertoire,  the Bach B Minor Mass.  Film makers from Brown University make a film about the process of teaching this music to children and adults.  Chorus produces its first Celebration of Twelfth Night which is done without outside direction.


Season 17
Beethoven - Ninth Symphony (with R.I. Philharmonic)
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
J.S. Bach - B Minor Mass
Poulenc - Secheresses, Gloria


Season 18

Colgrass - Best Wishes U.S.A. (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Poulenc - Gloria (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Vaughn Williams - Five Mystical Songs (with R.I. Philharmonic)
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Palestrina - Stabat Mater (in an a capella performance of polyphonic music entitled "Faire Musicke")
Britten - Spring Symphony, Cantata Academica


Season 19

J.S. Bach - Cantata 130, Herr Gott dich loben alle wir, Magnificat in D
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Moussorgsky - Boris Godunov (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Handel- Dettingen Te Deum, Coronation Anthems


The Chorus begins planning for a Tour of Britain in 1981.  Tour planners go to England to begin arrangements. Quest Magazine February-March uses as its cover story "The Music Man," an article about George Kent and his work with the Chorus of Westerly.


Season 20
J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (with R.I. Philharmonic)
A Celebration of Twelfth Night (Anne Utter, the writer/producer of Twelfth Night for three decades, right)
Gabrieli - In Ecclesiis
Schütz - Psalm 84, Psalm 150
Vaughan Williams - Five Tudor Portraits


Chorus hires a part-time Business Manager, Jeff James. 
The Chorus is invited to sing a Service of Evensong in
Westminster Abbey on August 8, 1981.


Season 21
Mathias - Ave Rex
Resphigi - Laud to the Nativity
Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on Christmas Carols
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Brahms - German Requiem
Beethoven - Mass in C


The New York Times includes the Chorus's 'A Celebration of Twelfth Night' in a list of their Twelve Best Things to do at Christmastime. Chorus tours Britain with Brass Ensemble from the R.I. Philharmonic. It comissions a new work from Virginia composer Adolphus Hailstock and he accompanies the Chorus on its Tour of Britain.  First Summer Pops is organized as Bon Voyage Concert before tour.  It is  held in Dixon Square with all traffic stopped. 5000 attend.


Season 22
Mahler - Symphony No. 2 (with R.I. Philharmonic)
Handel - Messiah
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Dvorak - Requiem

August 1 through August 17, 1981  
Tour of Great Britain

Works performed on tour:
Gabrieli - Jubilate Deo
Desprez - Ave, verum corpus
Victoria - O magnum mysterium
Scarlatti - Exsultate Deo
J.S. Bach - Motet I
Hailstork - Psalm 72 (a new work, commissioned by the Chorus, for chorus, brass, and organ)
Howells - Like As The Hart
Vaughan Williams - O Clap Your Hands
Gardiner - Evening Hymn
Schütz - Psalm 150
Howells - Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Collegium Regale)


The Chorus Tour is featured in article in High Fidelity/Music America.  Chorus starts tradition of Christmas Pop Concerts. Chorus sings first U.S. Premiere performance of 20th century British work for chorus and orchestra. Quest Magazine article about George Kent is rewritten and featured in "Amerika," the magazine circulated in Russia by the U.S. State Department.


Season 23
J.S. Bach - Cantata 50
Haydn - Mass in D "Lord Nelson" 
Christmas Pops (with R.I. Philharmonic) 
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Hadley - The Hills (U.S. Premiere)  
Vaughan Williams - In Windsor Forest


The Edward Tarr Brass Ensemble from Europe is featured in orchestra for Vinter's "The Trumpets," the second U.S. Premiere Performance by the Chorus of Westerly.


Season 24
Vinter - The Trumpets (using 37 massed brass and percussion; U.S. Premiere.)  
Gabrieli - Jubilate Deo
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Bruckner - Mass in F Minor



Summer Pops audiences outgrow Dixon Square and concert is held for the first time in Wilcox Park.  Over 15,000 attend.  The Chorus begins its tradition of sponsoring a free lecture on the music prior to concerts of classical works.  The third U.S. Premiere of a 20th century British work is presented.

Season 25

C.P.E. Bach - Magnificat
J.S. Bach - Cantata 34,"O Ewiges Feuer"
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Delius - Songs of Farewell
C.V. Stanford - Songs of the Fleet (U.S. Premiere)  


The Chorus begins work on its second overseas tour - to Italy.  Meanwhile, the Annual Fund Drive raises $55,000.00  The Chorus hires a full-time Manager and opens a new office in downtown Westerly at 16 High Street thanks to a grant from the R.I. Foundation.  An Artistic Reserve is established with $88,282.  William Mathias, famous Welsh composer, comes from Britain for the first U.S. Performance of his work for chorus and orchestra, Lux Aeterna.  Mathias lectures on his music and celebrates his 50th birthday with the Chorus.

Season 26
Mathias - Lux Aeterna (U.S. Premiere, with composer present) 
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
J.S. Bach - B Minor Mass


The Chorus is formally invited to sing the final Piazza Concert at the Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto, Italy, July 12, 1987.

Season 27
Brahms - Nänie
Verdi Quattro Pezzi Sacri
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Howells - Hymnus Paradisi


Britain's greatest living Choral Conductor, Sir David Willcocks,
comes from Britain to conduct the chorus in performances of
Sir Edward Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. In the Summer of 1987,
George Kent is awarded the Governor's Arts Award, Rhode Island's
highest honor in the arts.


Season 28
Dvorák - Stabat Mater
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night (Attendance for the event exceeds 3000)
Elgar - Dream of Gerontius (Guest Conductor: Sir David Willcocks )


Summer 1987

Tour of Italy
July 7 through 27, 1987
The Chorus tours with over 200 to Italy and sings in San Marco of Venice, The Duomo of Milan, St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and in several other important venues. Huge audiences meet the Chorus at each concert, including over 13,000 people in the Duomo of Milan, and thousands of attendees as the Chorus closes the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds with the Westminster Choir. A remarkable tour!!

Works performed on tour: 
Dvorák - Requiem (with Westminster Choir, Closing Piazza Concert, Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto)
J.S. Bach - Magnificat in D
Haydn - Mass in D, "Nelson"
Byrd - Haec Dies
Mozart - Ave verum corpus
Palestrina - Missa Brevis


A Chorus Endowment is established at Washington Trust.  $135,000 is raised.  The Chorus performs two more U.S. premieres of 20th Century British works.


Season 29
Dyson - Sweet Thames Run Softly, In Honour of the City (U.S. Premieres)
Vaughan Williams - Serenade to Music
Holst - Choral Symphony
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Verdi - Requiem


1988 Annual Report of the R.I. Foundation has picture of The Chorus of Westerly on Page 1. The national magazine, Early Americam Life, runs a feature story about A Celebration of Twelfth Night. The Center for The Arts organization goes into receivership, the concert hall is for sale.

Season 30
Holst - Choral Symphony
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night

The Chorus a capella -
Palestrina - Missa Brevis
Barber - Agnus Dei
Walmisley - Music, all powerfull
MacFarren - Orpheus With His Lute, When Daisies Pied
Thiman - Go, Lovely Rose
Wood - Full Fathom Five
Harris - Faire is the Heaven
Brahms - A German Requiem


British composer, Paul Patterson, again journeys to Westerly from England, to lecture on his latest work, Mass of the Sea, which is given its American premiere performance in the spring of 1990. Meanwhile, in June 1990, police estimate the attendance at SUMMER POPS to have surpassed 30,000.  Following Pops, in July, the Chorus presents its first Choral Symposium with Sir David Willcocks at Ogontz in Lisbon, New Hampshire.  66 Chorus members attend as well as musicians from around the country. The symposia continue to the present day.

Season 31
J.S. Bach - Cantata 50, "Nun ist das Heil"; Cantata 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben"; Cantata 195, "Dem Gerechten muss das licht"
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Patterson - Mass of the Sea (U.S. Premiere with Composer Present)


The second Choral Symposium with Sir David Willcocks, is held in July at Ogontz, and is well attended and enthusiastically received.

Season 32
Ravel - Sheherazade (with Cynthia Munzer, mezzo soprano)
Fauré - Pavane
Duruflé - Requiem
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Dvorák - Requiem


The Chorus purchases the former Immaculate Conception Church/Center for the Arts building from the receiver for $165,000. Money for the purchase is raised from Board members and a few other special friends of the Chorus. The building is renamed the Chorus of Westerly Performance Hall. The Annual Drive exceeds its $75,000 goal, with donations from 1178 individuals and 141 businesses. In addition, 192 individuals, businesses and corporations contribute to SUMMER POPS. George Kent is named "Citizen of the Year" by the Westerly and Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce.


Season 33  
Handel - Zadok the Priest, Sing Unto God
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Walton - Belshazzar's Feast, Crown Imperial (Coronation March)
Parry - I Was Glad (with Coronation interpolations)


Chorus organizes a Capital Campaign committee and begins planning for a $1.5 million dollar campaign. The Chorus receives grant funds through the Community Development Program for handicapped access improvements.  

Season 34
Gounod - Messe Solenelle de Ste. Cecilé
Poulenc - Gloria
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Honegger - King David


Chorus received a National Endowment for the Arts Advancement Grant of $50,000 (which must be matched 3 to 1). The match is easily reached by end of season. Annual Fund Drive raises $102,000. Sir David Willcocks returns for the fourth annual Choral Symposium at Ogontz. Paula Rockwell of Nova Scotia attends for first year as an Instructor for Vocal Techniques.

Season 35
Gabrieli - Jubilate Deo
Schütz - Psalm 150
Hindemith - Apparebit Repentina Dies
Hailstork - Psalm 72 
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Walton - Christopher Columbus Suite 
Britten - Spring Symphony


Chorus hires NEA consultant, David Bury of New York and Brattleboro, Vermont as Development Advisor.  Annual Fund Drive sets goal at $110,000; by mid-November over $100,000 has been received.  Chorus raises sufficient funds to accomplish its second tour to Great Britain (July 23 through August 7, 1995). 147 singers, 38 members of the Boston Festival Orchestra, and four soloists make the tour. As part of the tour the Chorus sings all services at Westminster Abbey August 5th and 6th. The Chorus's concert at St Alban's Cathedral is recorded live by Classic FM of Britain and, in November, is broadcast in Britain nationwide with introductory comments by John Julius Norwich. Over 130 people from 14 states attend fifth annual Choral Symposium at Ogontz with Sir David Willcocks, Paula Rockwell and George Kent. Renovations begin at the Performance Hall.  Outside renovations and painting are completed.

Season 36 
J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Handel – Sing Unto God (Wedding Anthem, 1736)
Brahms - Alto Rhapsody

Summer 1995
Tour of England

July 22 - August 7, 1995
Handel - Sing Unto God (Wedding Anthem, 1736)
Brahms - Alto Rhapsody 
Beethoven - Mass in C

Service Music at Bristol Cathedral and Westminster Abbey included:
Sowerby - Introit (Eternal Light)
Walsh - Preces and Responses
Wood - O Most Merciful
Willan - Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis
Duruflé - Ubi Caritas
Howells - Mass, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (setting for both: Collegium Regale) 
West - Venite
Parry - I Was Glad
Dyson - Lauds
Gardiner - Evening Hymn
Elgar - Ave verum corpus 


The Chorus is awarded the Jabez Gorham Prize by the Business Volunteers for the Arts.  Two awards are made to arts organizations each year;  this is a major honor in the state of Rhode Island.  In May, 1996, George Kent is awarded an honorary doctorate from General Theological Seminary in New York, the institution's highest possible honor.  

Season 37
Rutter - Gloria
Vaughan Williams - Hodie
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night

The Chorus a cappella:
Rutter - Birthday Madrigals (U.S. Premiere)
Byrd - Mass for Four Voices
Works of Scarlatti, Stravinsky, Sowerby, Wesley, and Jongen

Fauré - Requiem
Kodaly - Missa Brevis


The Chorus hires a new Manager, Aurea Barnes, and a new Assistant to the Manager and Box Office Manager, Sheila Murphy. Both are received with great enthusiasm. For the first time, the Chorus presents three performances of Christmas Pops on the same day, with a rehearsal also on that day.  

Season 38

Rutter - When Icicles Hang
Honegger - Une Cantate de Noel (A Christmas Cantata)
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Bach - Cantata 50, Nun ist das Heil; Cantata 140, Wachet auf, Magnificat in D


The Chorus purchases new vastly-improved computer system. Another major acquisition this year is a second-hand, extremely fine Allen Digital Computer Organ ADC 6300 with 52 speaking stops, 3 61-note Manuals, and a 32-note concave radiating pedalboard. The annual Fund Drive achieves over $117,000, a record amount. Once again, the Chorus performs three Christmas Pops concerts in one day, with capacity attendance. 

Season 39
Britten - St. Nicolas
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 
Brahms - A German Requiem



The Chorus celebrates its 40th Anniversary Year with various activities in celebration, including, in June, a run-out concert of the Stanford Stabat Mater at the Providence, R.I., Roman Catholic Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, presented in association with the Providence Preservation Society. A new staff position is created - Director of Development.  After years of painstaking study, work begins on a historic renovation of the nave. The kiosk in front of the building is replaced by a new lighted structure combining metalwork donated by M and M Welding of Glastonbury and masonry work done by Eric Dunham of Westerly. George Kent is honored with an Award of Excellence from the South County Center for the Arts, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Choral Arts New England (the Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation) for distinguished service to the choral arts in New England.

Season 40
Mozart - Mass in C Minor
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Stanford - Stabat Mater


Season 41

Handel - The King Shall Rejoice (Coronation Anthem), Dettingen Te Deum 
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Vivaldi - Gloria
Patterson - Millennium Mass (U.S. Premiere with composer present)


The Rhode Island Historical Society salutes George Kent with an "History Maker" Award.

Season 42
Lauridsen - Lux Aeterna
Vaughan Williams - An Oxford Elegy 
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 2001
Handel - Messiah


Season 43

Brahms - Nänie
Verdi - Quattro Pezzi Sacri
Christmas Pops 
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 
Debussy - La Damoiselle élue
Duruflé - Messe "cum Jubilo"
Fauré - Requiem


The Chorus hires its first Executive Director, Emma Palzere Rae, in May 2003. George Kent is named a Distinguished Alumni and his work with the Chorus is celebrated at the New England Conservatory of Music, the institution that provided many of the orchestral musicians who performed with the Chorus in its inaugural season.

Season 44
Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 2003
Dvorák- Stabat Mater


George Kent receives an Individual Achievement in the Arts Award for his work with the Chorus of Westerly by the Arts and Business Council of Rhode Island.


Season 45
J.S. Bach - Cantata 34, "O Ewiges Feuer"; Cantata 137, "Lobe den Herren"; Cantata 195, "Dem Gerechten muss das Licht"
Christmas Pops 
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Verdi - Requiem


The ongoing renovation of the Chorus hall continues, and the long planned expansion of the hall (creating new offices, meeting rooms, dressing rooms, a box office, library, restrooms, and new back stage access) begins in earnest. Work on a new HVAC and air handling unit begins. When this phase is complete the Chorus's facility is to become a more full-service center and hub for artistic activity. At the 25th annual Summer Pops, the Grucci company salutes the Chorus with an extended fireworks show.


Season 46
Rutter - Mass of the Children 
Vaughan Williams - Five Mystical Songs
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Mozart - Dixit Dominus,  Magnificat, Requiem
SUMMER POPS 2005  (Twenty-fifth anniversary celebration)


The 47th season is a remarkable one for the Chorus and its director, George Kent. In the fall, after over ten years of fundraising and renovating, the main phase performance hall's major expansion work is completed. A celebration is held in the hall to begin the season complete with brass and organ (and singing, of course!). The Chorus of Westerly Performance Hall is rededicated the George Kent Performance Hall.


In the spring, George Kent is awarded the prestigious National Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts and is celebrated in Providence. Kent remains one of only 32 New Englanders to have won the award. Kent and the Chorus are featured on WJAR, the Rhode Island NBC Affiliate, while rehearsing the Brahms Requiem.

Season 47
Bach - Magnificat in D
Haydn - Mass in D, "Nelson"
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Brahms - A German Requiem


Season 48
Handel - Dixit Dominus, Coronation Anthems
Christmas Pops 
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 2007
Dvorák - Requiem 


The 49th season is headlined by three major events. In October, the highly acclaimed ensemble Chanticleer performs as guests of the Chorus to a full house. In November, the Chorus presents Beethoven's Mass in C, the organization's 500th performance also to sold out houses. The Chorus also presents its a special March concert, Music of the English Cathedrals, celebrating the organization's British connection and exploring some of the great anthems for Chorus.


Season 49
Beethoven - Mass in C Major
Handel - Sing Unto God (Wedding Anthem, 1736)
Christmas Pops  2007 
A Celebration of Twelfth Night 
Music of the English Cathedrals: Works by Tallis, Parry, Vaughan Williams and others
Honegger - King David


The 50th season of the Chorus of Westerly. The Governor of Rhode Island comes to the March Musica Sacra Italiana concert to present a proclamation of celebration to the Chorus of Westerly on its 50th season. A Celebration of Twelfth NIght begins a five-year story arc created by playwright Harvey Blanchette. The season concludes with the appointment of Ryan Saunders, a former treble, as the organization's new executive director in May.

Season 50

Vaughan Williams -  Hodie
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Musica Sacra Italiana - Works of Palestrina, Gabrieli, and others
Gounod - Messe Solennelle de Sainte-Cécile

The first ever "Founders' Weekend" (a reunion, gala, and singing weekend) is held in November. Hundreds of former and current singers, friends, donors, and other guests attend. The Compaq Big Band performs at the concluding black-tie gala event. The first Chorus Legacy Award winners are announced at the Gala (Marion Palm, Nora Spens, Marie McGlory, George and Lynn Kent). The Chorus of Westerly is invited to sing at the Community Grand Opening of the newly restored Ocean House in May.

Season 51
Mozart - Mass in C Minor
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Ave: All Hail - Masterful Choral Settings of Texts Featuring the Word Ave
including music of Mathias, Josquin, Byrd, Mozart, 
Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Stavinsky, Wood, Busto 
Duruflé - Requiem
Vaughan Williams - Toward the Unknown Region
Ocean House Performance: Works of Gabrieli and others


The 52nd season of the Chorus of Westerly. Thanks to a significant grant from the Champlin Foundation, the Chorus of Westerly is able to begin the second phase of a preservation and renovation project for the George Kent Performance Hall's priceless stained glass windows. This phase, which put a protective storm window/glazing on 50 plus windows along the main nave. 

During the course of the season, the Chorus launches several new fundraising and alumni activities including a Collegiate Concert Series - headlined by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, Family Events (including an Oktoberfest and St. Patrick's Day Celebration), a new Charitable Gala, and an Alumni "Piano Duel" featuring former trebles Bill Quirk and Michael Chicoria (with cameo by fellow former treble Andrew Howell). The season ends with the historic announcement by George Kent that he will be stepping down from his post as music director and retiring from the Chorus at the end of the 2011-12 season.


Season 52
Handel - Messiah
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night

Collegiate Concert Series: The Yale Whiffenpoofs
Stanford - Songs of the Fleet
Poulenc - Gloria


George Kent's Final Season as Music Director

George Kent's final season is marked by great music and a series of tributes throughout the year. For the November concert of Bach, Handel, and Purcell, the Chorus features a program with two countertenors for the first time. In addition, the Alumni of the Chorus of Westerly raised nearly $10,000 to support the concert in honor of George Kent and present him with a special award following each performance. Greetings and thanks from the Alumni are presented to Mr. Kent by former treble Benjamin Dunham. For Mr. Kent's birthday in mid-December, the Chorus celebrates him by singing the "Old 100th" as tons of new lobster pots (donated by the singers and staff) are carried down the hall's main aisle in a grand procession of Chorus parents. At Christmas Pops, "Santa" presents George and Lynn Kent with lifetime season tickets to all Chorus of Westerly events with standing ovations for Mr. Kent in the middle of each show (including the orchestra!). At Twelfth Night, Production Stage Manager Aimee Blanchette and Director Derron Wood "retire" in a grand celebration Mr. Kent's famous Twelfth Night jacket and hat after the sold out Sunday at 8 pm performance. At the May performance of Brahms, prior to each performance, Lynn Kent is saluted and thanked by Ryan Saunders for her years of service and the audience responds with two huge standing ovations. Mr. Kent receives a standing ovation for 11 minutes after the 6 pm performance. At Summer Pops, seven special presentations are made to thunderous applause. A grand farewell party is held on June 30.

In March, after a national search that yielded over three dozen qualified applicants and three very qualified finalists (all of whom came in for a weekend of audition with the Chorus membership), Andrew Howell of the University of Rhode Island (and a former Chorus child) is appointed the second music director of the Chorus of Westerly to begin July 1, 2012.

Season 53
Bach - Cantata 191, Gloria in Excelsis Deo; Cantata 50, Nun ist das Heil
Purcell - Come Ye Sons of Art
Handel - Zadok the Priest
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night

Collegiate Concert Series - The Dartmouth Aires
Brahms - Requiem


Andrew Howell's First Season as Music Director

The Chorus commissions its first work since 1981, Five New England Songs,
by Peter Niedmann in honor of recently retired maestro George Kent.
The work is premiered in March 2013.


Season 54
Britten – Rejoice in the Lamb, St. Nicolas
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night

Kent Hall Masters Series - The King's Singers
American Choral Sound: Featuring Peter Niedmann's Five New England Songs*
* World premiere performance
Mozart – Requiem


Season 55

Kent Hall Masters Series - Chanticleer
Rutter - Mass of the Children
Lauridsen - Lux Aetern
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night
Kent Hall Masters Series - Lorelei Ensemble
Dvorak - Stabat Mater
Guest Concert: Young Women's Choral Project of SF


Summer 2014
Tour of Central Europe

July 12 - 22, 2014 
Dvorak - Stabat Mater
Included performances in Smetana Hall, Prague, Stephansdom, Vienna, and Matthias Church, Budapest



Season 56
Guest Concert: Maryland State Boychoir
Kent Hall Masters Series: Rockapella
JS Bach - Christmas Oratorio
Christmas Pops
A Celebration of Twelfth Night, the 40th and Final (for Now) Edition
Bernstein - Chichester Psalms
Rutter - Birthday Madrigals
Gjeilo - Dark Night of the Soul
Gardiner - Evening Hymn
Collegiate Concert Series: Harvard Glee Club
Faure - Requiem
Jenkins - Gloria


Season 57

Schubert – Mass in G Major
Mozart – Solmen Vespers of the Confessor
Haydn – Missa Brevis in F
Christmas Pops
Kent Hall Masters Series: Stile Antico
Kent Hall Masters Series: Tenet
Verdi – Requiem with Maestro David Hill of The Bach Choir of London


Season 58

Kent Hall Masters Series: Cantus
Vaughan Williams – Hodie
Christmas Carol and Handel's Messiah Sing
Christmas Pops

Collegiate Concert Series: UCONN Chamber Singers
J.S. Bach – Mass in B Minor
Summer Pops 2017

Summer 2017
Tour to Germany
J.S. Bach – Mass in B Minor
Send-off: Watch Hill Chapel 
Johanniskirche, Magdeburg
Thomaskirche, Leipzig
Stadtkirche St. Michael, Jena
Kloster Fürstenfeld, Fürstenfeldbruck

The Star Spangled Banner at Fenway Park 
August 1, 2017 CLE at BOS



Season 59
Kent Hall Masters Series: Chanticleer
C.H.H. Parry – I was glad when they said unto me
Edward Elgar – The Music Makers
Jonathan Dove – Psalms for Leo
Christmas Pops
Featuring premiere of 'A Celebration of Twelfth Night' by John Tafone
Songs of Love 
Featuring premiere of 'If ye love me' by Peter Niedmann
Haydn – Te Deum in C Major

Beethoven – Mass in C Major

Summer Pops


Season 60

Orff - Carmina Burana, performances
in Westerly, Clinton, CT,

and at Woolsey Hall in New Haven, CT
Concerts in partnership with the
New Haven Symphony Orchestra
William Boughton, conductor
Christmas Pops
March concert - This is the Day 

including Allegri – Miserere, mei Deus
Niedmann – Psalm 150 (premiere)
Works of Howells, Hailstrok, Angela,
Mathias, Willcocks, Berger,
Mendelssohn, and others.
Beethoven – Symphony No. 9, Choral
Handel – Dettingen Te Deum 
(highlights, conducted by George Kent)
Brahms – Nänie

Kent Hall Masters Series: The Swingles
Kent Hall Masters Series: Nordic Voices
Summer Pops 2019 
featuring premiere of Cantum Laudemus by John Tafone
Special guest Paul Winter


Season 61

Handel - Messiah

Christmas Pops
Featuring premiere of 'O Holy Night' by John Tafone

Kent Hall Masters Series: The King's Singers
Due to COVID-19, planned performances of Brahms Requiem, Spring Pops, and Summer Pops did not take place.
Virtual performance by Children and Teens of Chorus

Tafone (music), Chorus teens (text) – The Little Things


Season 62
In August 2020, online and in person at the Misquamicut Drive-in, the premiere of a documentary on the Chorus, Mostly Music: The Journey of the Chorus of Westerly, took place.

In 2020, no live performances took place due to Covid-19. However, the Chorus presented several virtual presentations including a live Christmas concert from the hall featuring Kathryn Aaron and Andrew Howell, hosted remotely by Ryan Saunders. A virtual Twelve Days of Twelfth Night Festival was held featuring interview shows, retrospectives, and a concert featuring Margot Rood and Emily Marvosh.  Through May 2021, the Chorus also hosted a bi-weekly lecture series and, on the opposite weeks, a bi-weekly talk show called 'The Community Chorus Show'. 

The Chorus adult singers - in both the symphonic and foundations programs - rehearsed virtually between March 2020 and June 2020, and then between September 2020 and June 2020. The children and teenage singers rehearsed virtually between March 2020 and June 2020. Between September and late November 2020, the children and the teens rehearse both virtually (once a week) and in-person (once a week) and also received music lesson online. The Fall 2020 in-person rehearsals took place in cohorts outdoors on the Wahaneeta Preserve, a property of the Westerly Land Trust, until earlier sunsets arrived in November. At that time, rehearsals shifted to "under the lights" on the Westerly High School Football Field. Rehearsals shifted to virtual for the winter months.

In late March 2021, the children and teenagers resumed rehearsing in person at Kent Hall and continued rehearsing in person from that point forward, including over the course of the summer. The Chorus children performed twice in the summer of 2021. The teenagers performed at the opening of the United Theatre and all of the children and teens prior to a Shakespeare in the Park performance in August 2021.

The adult singers came back in mid-summer to rehearse in person to prepare for a first-ever, late summer, September Summer Pops. 

Virtual performance by the Chorus of Westerly & James Lawson

Candlemas Eve

Summer Pops 2021 - The first Chorus of Westerly first concert since the Covid-19 shutdown and the 40th Summer Pops. 

Season 63

Christmas Pops
Brahms – Requiem
Summer Pops 2022 


Season 64

Caroline Shaw – To the Hands
F. J. Haydn – Mass in D, "Nelson"
Christmas Pops
Vaughan Williams – Dona Nobis Pacem
O'Regan – And there was a great calm
G. F. Handel – Zadok the Priest
Summer Pops 2023


George Kent shaking hands with Executive Director, Ryan Saunders, with Andrew Howell on the podium.
Chorus of Westerly Music Directors

The Music Directors of the Chorus
Current Music Director – Andrew Howell (2012 – present)
Founding Music Director – George Kent (1959 – 2012)

George Kent was appointed Music Director, emeritus, in 2012. 

The Chorus of Westerly early performance
Film from Chorus of Westerly performance
Audience at first Summer Pops concert (1981)
George Kent conducting Summer Pops located in downtown Westerly.
Music Director George Kent working with Sir David Willcocks
Choristers singing Summer Pops Concert
Celebration of Twelfth Night write, Anne Utter
Singers smiling at Chorus Summer Camp.
Don Friend, longtime Waterfront Director at Ogontz
Chorus of Westerly performance in Kent Hall
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