Chorus brings rays of light indoors (with gallery)

The Mohawk Valley Chorus brought Sunday’s sun inside for its Joy in the Morning concert.

The Mohawk Valley Chorus brought Sunday’s sun inside for its Joy in the Morning concert.

Sixty-five members lifted their voices in radiant song for the audience of about 230 music lovers who packed the sanctuary of the United Presbyterian Church.

The concert opened with a single voice — that of 17-year-old soprano Giovanna Savoie, an Amsterdam High School senior who was selected as the recipient of MVC’s annual scholarship. Savoie sang “On My Own,” by Claude-Michel Schonberg and “Still wie die Nacht,” by Carl Bohm in a clear, sweet voice. She beamed as she was offered a bouquet of miniature orange roses and her $500 award was announced.

Savoie, who has been involved with MVC for four years, takes private voice lessons and participates in multiple choral groups. She’s considering attending Schenectady County Community College and hopes to eventually make her way to Broadway.

“That’s like my major wish, but we’ll see what happens,” she said.

Savoie joined the other MVC members on stage for a mix of joyful pop hits, show tunes, church anthems, spirituals and traditional classical pieces. The singers were accompanied by organist Alfred Fedak, as well as a brass ensemble of trumpets and trombones.

MVC’s Youth Chorale joined the main chorus for three songs.

David Rossi, who has been MVC’s music director since 2009, selected the songs for Sunday’s concert.

“They’re just happy songs. They all have something to do with happiness, so that’s what this concert is all about,” he said.

No matter what they’re singing, MVC is always a happy group, said first alto Amy Brule of Niskayuna.

“It’s just a joy in the [afternoon], a joy in the morning and a joy at night,” she said.

She and her husband, Wayne, have been singing with the group for 10 years.

“She started singing in the fall and then she came home and said, ‘The group is going to Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Would you like to go along?’ And I said, ‘I’ll go only if I sing, because otherwise I would have to hold all the ladies’ purses while they’re practicing singing, so I will join the chorus,’” Wayne, a baritone, recounted with a grin.

The group has participated in overseas singing tours every other summer for about the past decade.

The River Valley Ringers, a bell choir from the church, also contributed their joyful tones to the concert. Sunlight bounced off the bells as the group of 13 played a five-octave set of Whitechapel English handbells and a three-octave set of Malmark choir chimes. Directed by Margaret Lazarou, the bell choir regularly participates in regional and national handbell festivals.

The MVC has been entertaining audiences in Amsterdam since 1935, when Mohawk Carpet Mills formed a men’s glee club. Six years later, the company added a ladies choral club. The two groups combined in 1948, and the MVC became an independent organization in 1962.

The chorus is funded through corporate and individual contributions, members’ dues, grants, fundraising and ticket sales.

“We’re very fortunate for all the community support we get,” said Rossi.

The group’s 100 members hail from Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Saratoga, Schoharie, Albany and Hamilton counties. Members sing in the main chorus, a sextet called the Sentimentalists, and two youth groups.

The MVC is always looking for new members, noted president Margaret Bellamy, who has been singing with the chorus for seven years. Further information is available by calling 779-5061, 885-9231 or 993-3850.

Categories: Schenectady County

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