Add Your Voice!

Rehearsals for our Fall 2017 concert begin on September 6. We want you to sing with us! 

Want to join for the first time? We will hold auditions for all voice parts on September 6 and 13, from 6:00-7:00. Contact us to schedule an audition. 

We rehearse from 7:00–9:30 PM on Wednesday evenings at St. George's Chapel, 5 Rutherford Place, one block east of Third Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Find out more about membership in the Members section of our website, and download our rehearsal schedule.

Our Fall concert, the last of our 200th year, features Dvorak's Requiem. We premiered this piece in America in 1892. For our Spring concert of Verdi's Requiem, we will perform with the Greenwich Village Orchestra for the first time.

Click the appropriate image below to contact us:

Our 2017-2018 Season

It's almost time to start singing once more. Our bicentennial year comes to an exciting close with our fall concert of the Dvořák Requiem. We welcome new members. Contact info@stgeorgeschoralsociety.org to set up an audition and join in the celebration. 

Keep singing with us as we close out the season with a new collaboration and our annual Summer Choral Festival.

Fall Concert with Orchestra
Sunday, November 19 at 2:30 PM

Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue at 35th Street
Dvořák: Requiem, opus 89

For the final program of our bicentennial year, we present a choral masterpiece: Dvořák’s Requiem. The connection between composer Antonín Dvořák and St. George’s Choral Society is rich and interesting, including a link with American icon Harry Burleigh. This program includes a complete performance of the Requiem, a piece St. George's Choral Society debuted in America in 1892. For full orchestra, large chorus and soloists, it is a fitting conclusion to the bicentennial celebration of St. George’s Choral Society.

Spring Concert with Orchestra
Sunday, April 29 at 2:30 PM

Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue at 35th Street
Verdi: Requiem

St. George’s Choral Society joins forces with another group of highly skilled amateurs, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. Led by Music Director Barbara Yahr, this 70-person orchestra has brought orchestral music to New York City for more than 25 years. Barbara Yahr and Matthew Lewis have been discussing the possibility of a collaborative program for some time now and it seems this Verdi program is the perfect fit. The Verdi Requiem offers many rewarding elements, for both choral singers and orchestral players. This monumental work is always an audience favorite.

Summer Choral Festival
Saturday, June 16 at 7:00 PM
Rehearsals begin June 5

Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue at 35th Street
Bach: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230
Schubert: Mass in C, D 452

The Summer Festival is a program of works for choir and strings. Bach’s motet, Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230, is the only one not scored for double chorus. Singers will enjoy performing this contrapuntal masterpiece in German. The choral works of Bach are a great way to get a choir to exercise their agility and clarity! The Schubert Mass in C is a refreshing alternative to his popular Mass in G. Full of lyricism, brilliance, and charm, this piece is a delight to sing, and a refreshing program for any audience. The combination of these two works will be an enticing program for summer singers.

#MySGCSMemory, continued

St. George's Choral Society memories keep coming in, and we are thrilled to share them with you. You can submit #MySGCSMemory here.

My St. George’s memory goes back to the performance of Noye’s Fludde—probably sometime in the 60s. I didn’t dream that some years later I would be living in St. George’s neighborhood. Soon after we settled in I attended a Christmas Candlelight service. In the program there was a note inviting anyone to join the Choral Society. In fear and trembling I braved Ken Dake’s audition—and made it. It was a great singing with Ken, Harry and Matthew.
— Sue Nichols

We can only continue creating musical memories with your support! Our fiscal year ends on July 31. Consider making a year-end donation today to support the choral memories of tomorrow.

We were members of the St George’s Choral Society in the golden days of Charles Henderson and Calvin Hampton. Our first concert was a joint program of “Elijah” with Frederick Swann on the organ, done both at St. George’s and at Riverside Church. 300 voices.

The group did four or five concerts each year with an orchestra made of of the finest freelance musicians in the city. Then there was the Christmas Gala. Most programs were packed to the gills. We did most of the important choral works of Haydn and Mozart. Henderson dragged us through Britten’s “Cantata Misericordium.” We were background for concerts by the organist E. Power Biggs who recorded several albums on the great organ. We did the Beethoven “Choral Fantasia” twice. Also Brahms’ “Requiem.”

Under Calvin Hampton we did Carmina Burana twice, once with orchestra and once as intended with two pianos and percussion. Most memorable was Frank’s “Les Beatitudes,” a monumental work, especially since there was a lot of French for us to do.

One think I see different from amateur choral groups today is that there were a lot of singers under 40. In fact the rules requested that those over 65 join the audience. We had no officers, no dues, and the church provided everything for us. ... Thankfully the group today perpetuates the glorious name even though it does not [perform in] St. George’s wonderful space.
— Henry Strouss

Thanks for Sharing Your SGCS Memories

For 200 years, St. George's Choral Society has made lasting impressions on those who have heard and sung with the choir.

Last week, we asked you to share #MySGCSMemory. This week, we are excited to share some submissions. It's not too late to send us your SGCS memory!

I sang with the choir for several seasons, during the period when Ken Dake was the choir director. We did a ‘Discovering Dvorak’ concert. At that time, the area by the church was being designated Dvorak Place. The ambassador from his native country attended our concert. My favorite memories were the Christmas concerts. Being surrounded by a human wall of sound, as we sang above the audience in such a beautiful setting. The decorations, the performers and of course, the immortal music. I will always think fondly of my time spent with St. George’s.
— Valerie Cruz

We can only continue creating musical memories with your support! Our fiscal year ends on July 31. Consider making a year-end donation today to support the choral memories of tomorrow.

One night we were rehearsing in St. George’s Chapel when a young woman walked in from outside, lay down on the floor, listened to the choir for a moment, then stood up and left. I guess we sounded good that evening!
— Johanna Goldberg
I have not attended a concert, but I have heard your lovely voices! My son has returned to his first love, choral music!! I am so happy for him, because it has brought him so much joy! He has progressed from children’s and youth church choirs to Wofford College Men’s Glee Club to, now, the prestigious St. George’s Choral Society!!! I am very proud of him and his love for music! Love from a happy mother in South Carolina.
— Billie Lou Liles

Share #MySGCS Memory

It's our 200th year and we want to hear from you!

Did you attend a memorable concert or event? Is there a rehearsal you will never forget? Tell us about it below or share it on social media using #MySGCSMemory.

We might share it on our website, Facebook page, or in a future email.

Name *
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Attend a Summer Choral Festival Without Leaving New York City

Have you considered participating in our Summer Choral Festival? A new Van.org interview with Artistic Director Matthew Lewis by Vice President Claire Marinello answers all your questions about the Festival and gives insight into the process and repertoire:

Claire Marinello: How does the Summer Choral Festival work?

Matthew Lewis: Basically, it’s a way of attending a summer choir festival without leaving New York City. A sort of “staycation” for choral groupies. There are wonderful opportunities to leave New York to attend choir festivals, but this one allows people to continue their summer routine while participating in a two-week intensive workshop with a performance at the end.

For me, it started when we used to host “summer sings.” These were evenings when we would gather to read through a big choral piece, often with a guest conductor. The singers had so much fun, but often wished they could get to know the piece a bit better, allowing them to enjoy it more. So, we started this festival with that thought in mind. After four rehearsals, the singers know the piece better than they would with only one reading! Not to mention we have professional section leaders, which really helps. The result has been wonderful – an outstanding choral sound after only two weeks.

CM: This year’s program consists of Aaron Copland’s In the Beginning and Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom. Why did you choose those two pieces?

ML: We are in our bicentennial year, so I thought it would be great to pay homage to two American composers. Furthermore, since people enjoy singing so much, a program of unaccompanied music seemed due. Randall Thompson came to mind immediately, as one of the most significant American composers of choral music. The Peaceable Kingdom is a wonderful work, not performed very often, that I am certain singers and audience will enjoy. And, of course, Aaron Copland is one of the great American composers. His In the Beginning is a masterpiece for unaccompanied chorus with alto solo. The two share some similarities, but are varied enough to offer a great program.

I should also add that the Church of the Incarnation is a great space for a cappella music. The acoustic is warm for chamber music without being too distant. It’s not a cathedral acoustic, but one that allows the audience to hear what is going on with a warm acoustic enhancement.

Read more on Van.org >>

Sing With Us This June

Where will you be this June?

If your answer is "In New York City, wishing I were away at a choral festival," we have an opportunity for you.

Beginning Tuesday, June 6, we will host a two-week choral intensive, with two rehearsals a week, culminating in a free performance of Copland's "In the Beginning" and Thompson's "The Peaceable Kingdom" on Saturday, June 17 at 7:00 pm.

We want you to participate!

Never sung with us before? Apply online by May 22 for an early-bird discount.

Sung with us before? No need to fill out the application form. Pay by May 22 for an early-bird discount.

Can't sing in the Festival? We can't wait to see you at our free concert on June 17.

Click for more details, including rehearsal dates and costs.

It's St. George's Choral Society Day!

The Proclamation. Click to enlarge.

Today is not just the day of our spring concert.

It's also officially "St. George's Choral Society Day" thanks to a proclamation from the Mayor's Office of the City of New York.

It concludes:

"In addition to keeping this musical tradition alive and empowering new generations of choristers, St. George's Choral Society has used music to pave the way to a better and brighter future for our communities. For two centuries, it has been enriching the cultural life and vitality of our great city, and today the Choral Society will celebrate the start of its 200th anniversary season with a performance of Antonin Dvorak's composition of Stabat Mater. I am proud to join in applauding all of its dedicated vocalists and supporters that are uniting New Yorkers in shared appreciation of choral music and look forward to many more years of exciting performances."

Notes on Our Spring 2017 Concert

On April 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm, we perform Dvořák's Stabat Mater. 

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) started composing his setting of the Stabat Mater in 1876 and completed it a year later. The death of his daughter, Josefa, drew the composer to this poetic and somewhat mystical text. The death of his surviving two children followed, bringing the composer back to complete the piece in 1877. These tragic losses resulted in this moving and highly emotional work we hear today.

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater is not harmonically complex, nor is it a difficult work to appreciate. It is, rather, immediately accessible to the listener (and performer). While these are often trademarks of Dvořák’s music, they are especially clear in this piece. The result is a piece that feels personal, often intimate, with folk-like qualities that make it sound familiar, even for first-time listeners. The only repeated thematic material is found in the first and last movements. Otherwise, each movement is a world unto itself, with no thematic relationship to anything around it. This makes the recall of the opening material even more striking when heard at the beginning of the last movement.

The vocal writing, especially for the soloists, is unique. Dvořák requires singers of ample voice to meet the vocal challenges of the phrases and to balance with the chorus and orchestra, but he also requires that these four soloists sing together as an ensemble. The second movement quartet is an example of sophisticated writing for a vocal ensemble, as are the opening and closing movements.

St. George’s Choral Society returns to its history with our performance of this piece. Dvořák has played such an important part in the choir’s existence, including the US premiere of the Requiem, along with early performances of the Stabat Mater in New York City when the work was relatively new. It is truly a wonderful way to celebrate 200 years of choral music!

Meet the Soloists

Jennifer Check

Jennifer Check

Celebrated by the New York Times for her “rare talent that can send chills down a listener’s spine even in familiar music,” Jennifer Check returns to Verdi’s Requiem in the hallmark Defiant Requiem presentation with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Philharmonic. She also returns to the Metropolitan Opera roster as the High Priestess in Aida and for its production of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin and joins the Lyric Opera of Chicago roster for Norma. Last season, she returned to Utah Opera for the title role of Aida, her first performances of Desdemona in Otello with Berks Opera, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda. On the concert stage she joined the Aspen Music Festival for Saariaho’s Cinq reflets. She recently debuted three other Verdi titles: Macbeth (Nancy, Palm Beach), Il trovatore (Utah Opera), and Don Carlos (Caramoor) and sang her first Ariadne auf Naxos (Toulon). Other recent performances include Don Giovanni (Metropolitan Opera), Muhly’s Dark Sisters (Gotham Chamber Opera, Opera Philadelphia), Norma (Palm Beach, Philadelphia), Elektra (London, Tokyo, Detroit), Iphigénie en Tauride (Valencia), Dialogues des Carmélites (Caramoor, Austin), and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (Amsterdam).

Carla Jablonski

Carla Jablonski

Hailed as a “vibrant stage personality” matched with a “sizable creamy mezzo,” Carla Jablonski’s vocal versatility has captivated audiences across the globe. Ms. Jablonski was most recently praised for inhabiting the title role in Dido and Aeneas with “impressive sophistication.” She joined The Metropolitan Opera for Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and a new production of Verdi's Otello. At Florida Grand Opera she sang Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte followed by performances of the Secretary in The Consul. Past seasons include various roles with Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Central City Opera, and Chautauqua. Equally at home on the concert stage and an advocate of new music, Ms. Jablonski made her Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall singing Five Songs by Charles Ives arranged for orchestra by John Adams, followed by her Carnegie Hall debut as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah. She also has sung as a featured soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, New York Festival of Song, Caramoor International Music Festival, and American Opera Projects, among others. Upcoming, Ms. Jablonski is featured on a tango album of specially arranged and newly commissioned Piazzolla songs in collaboration with The Neave Trio. She holds a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from Manhattan School of Music and is a proud recipient of a Drama Desk Award.

Jonathan Tetelman

Jonathan Tetelman

Praised by Opera News for his “galvanizing presence” tenor Jonathan Tetelman joins the Milan Festival Orchestra in Lake Como, Italy for his first performances of Verdi’s Requiem, the Orchestra Now for Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Opera Company of Middlebury for Luigi in Il Tabarro, and New England Symphonic Ensemble for Mozart’s Coronation Mass. He also joins the St. George’s Choral Society for performances of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, the Greenwich Choral Society for Bizet’s Te Deum and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, and Gulf Shore Opera for concert performances including selections from La Traviata, La boheme, and Rigoletto. Next season, the tenor joins the roster of the Metropolitan Opera and sings his first performances of Duca in Rigoletto with the Berkshires Opera Festival. Last season, he joined the Martina Arroyo Foundation as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Teatro Grattacielo covering Agamemnone in Gnecchi’s Cassandra. As a young artist with Opera North, Mr. Tetelman sang Steven Sankey in Weil’s Street Scene, Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, and Alfredo in La Traviata. Additionally, he joined the New York Opera Exchange for performances of Alfredo in La Traviata, and attended the International Vocal Arts Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia performing as Elder Gleaton along with direction by composer Carlise Floyd, in his masterpiece, Susannah.

Matthew Anchel

Matthew Anchel

Bass Matthew Anchel, called "a voice to watch" by the Wall Street Journal and praised for his “magnetic, deep voice” by the New York Times, was a Grand Finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This season he will sing the role of Sparafucile with Anchorage Opera; the bass solos in the U.S premiere of The Hyland Mass: A Prayer for Unity and Diversity by Joseph Vella with New York Choral Society at St. Patrick’s Church in New York City; and the role of Sun Tze in a workshop performance of REV. 23 with the Prototype Festival. He will make his Carnegie Hall debut singing Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and join The Metropolitan Opera for their productions of The Magic Flute, Idomeneo, and Der Rosenkavalier. Next season he will return to the The Metropolitan Opera for their productions of The Exterminating Angel and Cendrillon and sing Sarastro in The Magic Flute with St. Petersburg Opera. Recent engagements include Handel’s Messiah with the Annapolis Chorale, B Minor Mass with Canterbury Choral Society, Marpa in Mila, Great Sorcerer with American Lyric Theater, Zuniga in Carmen with the Savannah Voice Festival, and singing #8 in Transformations with the Merola Opera Program. Past highlights include two seasons covering in five productions with The Metropolitan Opera, Sarastro in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, a season with Oper Leipzig, performing in eight productions, Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Knoxville Opera, Ferrando in Il Trovatore and The Bonze in Madama Butterfly with Opera San Jose, and Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia with Loft Opera. Mr. Anchel was a Young Artist with LA Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Caramoor. He has won awards from The George London Foundation, Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, Palm Beach Vocal Competition, and Opera Index.