Each New Year’s Eve, Worcester ushers out the old and rings in the new with the largest arts festival in Central Massachusetts, known across the region as First Night Worcester. The evening, featuring talent of all ages, is a highlight among the Worcester community each year. On December 31, 2016, two groups from the Worcester Children’s Chorus (WCC) were part of the evening’s entertainment for the second consecutive year.
Thirty-five students from two of WCC’s four choir’s groups–Young Artists and Da Capo–performed at Wesley Methodist Church along with their director, WCC President Phillip Montgomery. The WCC is an independent, non-profit organization that enriches and provides children and young adults in Worcester County a quality musical experience through training and choral singing.
The Da Capo choir group, an entry-level choir for students in grades 3-5, and Young Artists, which consists of singers in grades 5-7, spent the evening alternating songs with 12 students from the Pakachoag Music School.
For Montgomery, the highlight of the performance was the last song, a Gospel-style arrangement of the classic “Go Tell it on the Mountain”, sung together by his two choirs, “It sent the audience away with their toes tapping!” he added.
The event also provided an opportunity for the WCC and Pakachoag Music School (PMS) to continue strengthening their relationship as partners in music through collaboration. While the groups did not sing together, they hope to continue their partnership with a performance in the near future. According to Montgomery, the idea for a collaboration was born at a workshop when Montgomery met Sarah Smongeski, the executive director of PMS, and they decided to team up and support their musical non-profit organizations.
“The first collaboration was for the Worcester Children’s Chorus to offer a class at the music school,” Montgomery said. “This Young Singer’s Class was geared towards children in Grade 1 – 3 and was a play-based class that taught musical literacy skills. This was a good fit between [Pakachoag’s] Music Together program for early childhood and our program, which begins in Grade 3.”
Montgomery added that he would like to partner—and perform jointly–with PMS in the future, and he also hopes to expand WCC’s reach. “We would like to try other venues, like the Worcester Art Museum,” he said.
WCC is also a community partner with Assumption College, who donates its facilities for the choirs to practice.