Capital Region Scrapbook: In 1948, rising opera star Mimi Benzell joined local clubs for spring sing

In 1948, Mimi Benzell, a rising opera star, was the star of the Thursday Musical Club's spring conce

Spring has always meant songs — and performance — for the Thursday Musical Club.

The women’s choir was founded in 1913 and has given two concerts a year since 1916. Guest artists have always been part of the fun. In 1948, Mimi Benzell of New York’s Metropolitan Opera was the star of the show and received rave reviews.

“She was at her best in the Mozart recitative . . . and the Rossini aria was most enjoyable,” wrote D.E. Ritz, reviewing the concert for the Schenectady Gazette.

The visiting soprano put in a full day with the Thursday group, which included members of Albany’s Monday Musical Club. She appeared with local singers in Helen Henshaw’s arrangement of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s “The Night is Calm and Cloudless” from “The Golden Legend.”

The Schenectady and Albany singers also received fine notices. “All members sang their parts without notes, a real accomplishment which one has learned to take for granted from the two groups,” Ritz wrote.

Benzell later would find additional fame in Broadway musical theater, television and nightclub productions. She died in 1970 at age 46.

This spring, the Thursday Musical Club will perform Sunday at 3 p.m. at the First Reformed Church of Scotia, 224 North Ballston Ave. The “Heavenly Echoes Gospel Singers” will be the guest artists.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students, available from members or at the door.

Categories: Life and Arts

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