Keene Chorale

A group of singers from the Keene Chorale poses for a photo with Music Director Cailin Marcel Manson, crouched in front. The group was honored for its performance at Keene Ice in June.

The Keene Chorale has been recognized by Choral Arts New England with two awards during a ceremony on Oct. 23 in Wellesley, Mass.

The chorale was one of 10 choral groups (and the only group in northern New England) to be awarded the group’s first-ever Phoenix Award for finding creative ways to continue music making and engaging their membership and their community through education and innovative performance.

During the pandemic the chorale offered virtual learning videos and remote rehearsal sessions with live piano accompaniment. When it was safe to do so, the chorale rehearsed masked and socially distanced and performed a short concert at the Keene Ice arena for a live audience. The concert brought in $325 in cash donations and 307 pounds of food for The Community Kitchen in Keene.

The chorale was also awarded a 2021 Alfred Nash Patterson grant in support of a performance of “The Ordering of Moses,” a choral-orchestral work by Black Canadian composer R. Nathaniel Dett, in spring 2022. The work reimagines Negro spirituals to tell the narrative of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

Choral Arts New England was formed in 1980 as a memorial to Alfred Nash “Bud” Patterson, the founder of Boston’s Chorus pro Musica. Its mission is to provide resources to elevate choral music and creativity in New England.

The 77-member Keene Chorale, under the direction of Cailin Marcel Manson, is currently rehearsing for December performances of Handel’s “Messiah” alongside the New England Repertory Orchestra and soloists. Information: keenechorale.org.

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