The Mystic River Chorale
THE MYSTIC RIVER CHORALE was founded in September 1984. About 30 singers participated in the first concert, "A Concert of Modern Invention", held in the spring of 1985, which featured works of William Billings, Randall Thompson and Gabriel Fauré. The Mystic River Chamber Singers, drawn by audition from the Chorale, were organized two years later. In 1987 the Chorale became an independent, not-for-profit performing arts organization.
The group has performed with the Con Brio Choral Society, the Norwich Diocesan Choir, and the Storrs Collegium Musicum as well as with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. In 1995, under the direction of Dr. Michele Holt, members of the Chorale and friends visited Germany, Austria and Switzerland and in 1997, toured Belgium and France. Members of the Chorale have also sung back-up for Paul Anka and Rosemary Clooney at the Foxwoods Theater.
From 1997 to 2001, the Chorale extended its community involvement by awarding a college scholarship to a senior attending Fitch or Stonington High School who will be pursuing music study at the collegiate level. We hope to resume this program in the future, as funding permits.
The Mystic River Chorale has performed many major works, including Poulenc's Gloria, Requiems by Brahms, Duruflé, Dvořák, Fauré and Mozart; Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat; Saint Saens' Christmas Oratorio, Schubert's Magnificat, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Mass; Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, Rutter's Gloria, Orff's Carmina Burana, Handel's Messiah, and masses of Haydn, Mozart, Rheinberger, and Schubert. In 2001, the Chorale gave the second known public performance of the recently discovered Mendelssohn Gloria in conjunction with his Magnificat. In 2010, the Chorale joined with Con Brio Choral Society and the University of Bridgeport Chamber Singers to present the regional premiere of the new choral concert version of Leonard Bernstein's epic theater piece Mass. The Chorale has performed the New England premiere of Greg Bullen's The Orchard (2015), and the Connecticut premiere of Craig Phillips' Dies Gratiae: Requiem Reflections (2016). The Chorale has also commissioned works by Edward Tyler and Alice Parker.
The Mystic River Chorale has had six directors since its inception in 1984; James and Patricia Dehls (1984-1992), the late Michele Holt (1992-1997), Joan Cook (1997-2007), Frank Martignetti (2008-2021) and Frank Zilinyi (2021-present).