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May 5 & 6, 2017
NVC “Blast” is Sellout at The Herberger

North Valley Chorale opens performance with “Broadway Blast!” Photo by David Kaufman.

If you were among the lucky patrons with tickets to North Valley Chorale’s inaugural performance at the prestigious Herberger Theater Center, May 5 & 6, you surely had a blast!  Audience members described the sell-out performances of Broadway Blast! as “energetic and fast-moving” “the best show yet” and “a lot of fun for the audience AND the singers-you could tell!”

Directed by Eleanor Johnson and Shannon Barrett, the Phoenix-based community choir of over 50 volunteer singers sported top hats, canes and their signature sparkling vests for the Broadway classics, New York, New York, Lullaby of Broadway, They’re Playing My Song and 42ndStreet.  The show was non-stop singing and dancing with medleys from South Pacific, Porgy & Bess, Guys & Dolls, Sound of Music, Gypsy and Chicago. Annie and Kids on Broadway were presented by the talented 3rd – 6th graders from the Benchmark School Show Choir, directed by NVC’s Carolyn Nyland. The rousing and visually-pleasing finale from Hair was the perfect ending to the “razzle-dazzle” of North Valley Chorale’s 9th season.

Debra Larson, longtime NVC fan, supporter and Herberger Theater Board Vice Chair, described the show as “beautifully sung, creatively costumed and stunningly choreographed.” The North Valley Chorale will be returning to The Herberger Theater in April 2018. Stay tuned!

Benchmark Show Choir charms with “Kids on Broadway”  Photo by David Kaufman.

North Valley Chorale and Benchmark youths during “Hair” finale.  Photo by Samantha Barrett.

April 21, 2017
NVC “Razzle-Dazzles” Fox 10

 

The North Valley Chorale returned to “razzle-dazzle” Fox 10 Arizona Morning viewers with a sneak preview of the group’s upcoming show, Broadway Blast at on April 21. Over half of the nearly 60-strong local volunteer choir, directed by Eleanor Johnson, were warmly welcomed by Fox 10 anchors Troy Hayden and Andrea Robinson, “Look at all these talented people!”

Wearing top hats and shimmering in gold and black, the Chorale performed excerpts from their upcoming show Broadway Blast! The Sinatra standard, New York, New York was followed by Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses from the hit musical, Gypsy.

President Dr. Anita Murcko explained that NVC would be singing and dancing for the first time ever on The Herberger Theater stage, May 5 & 6. Murcko guaranteed, “You’ll have a blast at NVC’s Broadway Blast!” – and warned viewers to get their tickets soon-before the expected sellout. 

Did you miss the segment? Want to see it again or share it? Thanks to Fox 10 Arizona Morning, you can click here to see the NVC Broadway Blast! sneak preview.

Visit the NVC website calendar for dates and details about the upcoming North Valley Chorale events and concerts.

October 30, 2016
NVC Featured in Concert for Peace

concert-for-peaceNVC members and director Eleanor Johnson sing Down by the Riverside as part of CES’s Concert for Peace.

The North Valley Chorale (NVC) was the featured guest choir at the free Concert for Peace held October 30 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC) in downtown Phoenix, with host choir and organizer, the Carolyn Eynon Singers (CES.) During his warm welcome, UCC pastor, Rev James Pennington promised attendees “beautiful, meaningful music and inspiring reflections to help us find interconnectedness.” Mission accomplished!

The NVC performed a energetic rendition of American traditional favorite, Down by the Riverside (arr. John Rutter) and then sang the haunting prayer for “deep peace” A Gaelic Blessing (music by J. Rutter.) The program concluded with the audience and all performers becoming one by joining hands to encircle the sanctuary while singing  Let There Be Peace on Earth.

The program also featured “Healing Drummers” and long-time Phoenix Police volunteer chaplain Robert Sessmire who reminded us that a smile and thank you to our local police “peacekeepers” can make a difference to men and women who put their lives on the line each day to keep peace in our communities. Rabbi Dr. Shumuley Yanklowitz asked us to acknowledge the “dark side of conflict…feel the urgency of peace” and to respond by building healing relationships. Muslim leader, Azra Hussein, shared passages from the Koran that inspire one to live a beautiful and peaceful life by striving for excellence in all aspects of life.

Host choir and concert organizers, the Carolyn Eynon Singers (CES) performed new music written by North American composers, Peace I Leave with You (by Rene Claussen) and O Ask for One Day (by Jim Papovlis.)  Vocalist Dennis Eynon was accompanied by Phoenix piano and jazz legend, Charles Lewis for God Bless America and I’ve Got to Be Free. A post-concert fellowship solidified the program’s goal to create a “renewed sense of community and brotherly love.”

June 28 – July 12, 2016
North Valley Chorale Returns from Successful European Concert Tour

Tour_Group_Outside Melk AbbeyNorth Valley Chorale tour members outside the Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria

This summer Director Eleanor Johnson led the North Valley Chorale (NVC) on the group’s first international concert tour, American Showcase-Europe Tour 2016.  The American Showcase concert program was available in German, Czech and English. The Chorale delighted concert-goers in Munich (Germany), Salzburg and Vienna (Austria), and Prague (Czech Republic) with selections from Broadway musicals, spirituals, folk songs, and traditional and contemporary American music. NVC members also participated in a 2-day Mozart master class that culminated in the performance of the Mozart Requiem with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and choirs from around the globe as part of the international “Sing Mit” Choir Festival. From the awe-inspiring cathedrals, magnificent palaces and grand museums to intimate community centers and tiny monasteries, North Valley Chorale members agreed that each performance… and each audience was very special. Most members described the American Showcase-Europe Tour 2016 as “trip of a lifetime.” All agreed that the musical, cultural, social and gastronomic aspects of the experience were equally wonderful and that the only way to have improved the trip was if every NVC member was able to tour with us.

June 14, 2016
NVC Celebrates Flag Day on FOX 10 Morning Show

 

Sparkling in their patriotic finery, the North Valley Chorale celebrated Flag Day at Fox 10 Arizona Morning. Anchor Rick D’Amico praised the group saying that “Of all the guests we’ve ever had on the show [30 years] there has never been a better musical organization!” He thanked the Chorale for “filling the studio with a big, amazing sound.” Co-host Liz Kotalik agreed, adding that the Chorale sound “gives you shivers.” Thirty members from the nearly  60-strong local group, ages 18-86, directed by Eleanor Johnson, sang the George M. Cohan favorite, You’re a Grand Old Flag, arranged by NVC composer-in-residence, Michael Frassetti, and America the Beautiful. NVC president, Dr. Anita Murcko explained that the selections were from the upcoming “American Showcase” European tour repertoire.  The Chorale will perform in the classic venues of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Each show features a “bit of Americana” including old American music from Aaron Copland, folk songs, spirituals, contemporary American art songs and “lots of Broadway!”  As a bonus, the men of NVC donned straw skimmers and Chorale recorded a special rendition of You’re a Grand Old Flag–to air on July 4, when the group will be in Europe. Later that day,  Rick posted the performance to his Facebook page (Thanks Rick!) and the “likes” just keep on coming!

Dr. Murcko invited interested singers to “try us out” during the Open Summer Sings in July and August. Visit the NVC website calendar for dates and details about the upcoming North Valley Chorale events and concerts.

February 21, 2016
New Composer-in-Residence, Michael Frassetti

mfrasettiSM

The North Valley Chorale has just introduced Phoenix composer Michael Frassetti as its new Composer-in-Residence. The selection by the Chorale’s Board of Directors was announced at the Chorale’s annual business meeting in February. The post was held previously by Frassetti’s long-time friend and collaborator, the late local composer, Gregory Zduniak. In his acceptance letter, Frassetti writes “I am very honored to accept this position, especially in light of my following in the footsteps of my late esteemed colleague (and “brother”) Gregory Zduniak.” The Chorale commissioned and recently performed the world premiere of Frassetti’s composition, the Angels Will Guide You Home, a hauntingly beautiful piece written as a tribute to Zduniak.

Frassetti started composing music when he was 16 years old in collaboration with his best friend, Zduniak. The two performed and recorded together throughout the years, including a five year stint as the keyboard duo at the Scottsdale Hyatt Resort and Hotel. In 1995 Frassetti was nominated for two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for Original Musical Composition. He won an Original Musical Composition Emmy jointly with co-composer Zduniak.

Frassetti earned his bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in music composition from Long Island University. During his multi-year tenure as a choral conductor in the New York public schools system, Frassetti wrote compositions and arrangements for numerous student performances for which he has received multiple distinctions for excellence by the New York State School of Music.

Frassetti’s a cappella choral work May the Lord Bless You and Keep You was enthusiastically received by the Baltimore School for the Arts, his 5 Poe Settings was performed by members of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus, and One Song, a composition dedicated to the friendship between French Canadian and American musicians, is performed annually at Canada’s Midsummer Music Dream Festival. His Walk in Beauty for guitar, pipa and strings was performed during the 23rd Annual Long Island Guitar Festival. As the composer-in-residence for the Carolyn Eynon Singers, Frassetti has composed original choral works in jazz, pop, and classical idioms since 2011. In recent years, Frassetti has also written arrangements and original compositions for the North Valley Chorale.

As the Composer-in-Residence, Frassetti summarizes his approach, “I promise to do my very best to continue to earn the confidence, reliance and trust of the Director, and especially of the members of the North Valley Chorale. I look forward to a continued successful collaboration for the upcoming concerts and events this year.” We look forward to making music with Mike for many years! Congratulations!

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