Written by Anne Ierardi
reprinted with permission by the Barnstable Patriot
What Sweeter Music – Sounds of the Season
Saturday, December 9, 2017 – 7:30 pm
Sunday December 10, 2017 – 4 pm
- Sing-Along Hallelujah!, from Handel’s Messiah
- Magnificat– Durante
- Music of John Rutter, Handel, Lauridsen, Mendelssohn
- Sing-along carols arranged by David Willcocks
Accompanied by strings, brass, piano, and timpani.
The Cape Cod Chorale was founded in 1982 by the Rev. John Thomas, former pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandwich, and Bruce Graham, former director of choral music at Sandwich High School. This year the chorale is not only preparing for their 35th Anniversary concert season, they are also putting on a new identity. Their name will remain as the Cape Cod Chorale. However, those of us who might have confused them with all the other splendid chorales that perform on the Cape will now have an opportunity to know and appreciate them for the unique chorus that they are.
Danica Buckley, director and conductor of the Cape Cod Chorale, is on a mission to shine a new light on the performance group. This is her fourth season as music director. She invites people who love to sing and might want to become part of the chorale to attend an open rehearsal next Monday night, Sept. 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the First Church of Christ in Sandwich. The open rehearsal is an informal time to meet the other members and get a feeling for the group. No auditions are necessary to join, nor is there a requirement to read music.
Buckley, a native of Nantucket, has ancestors going as far back as the 1850s in the town of Sandwich. “The Buckley family had relatives working at Sandwich Glass. I am honored to be carrying on the tradition of working in this beautiful town,” she said.
Buckley recently was asked to be conductor of the upcoming All Cape and Islands Music Festival’s Mixed Choir, which will be held next February. She says this opportunity is a special honor for her, as she sang in the choir in 1979 as a student at Nantucket Nigh School, and it had a huge impact on her life. Buckley’s enthusiasm is infectious: “Do you know that more people are engaged in group singing, from choirs to chorales, than participate in sports in America? Singing is rising; it is good for your health, studies show.”
As music director of First Parish, Brewster, Buckley holds a master’s degree in conducting from the Boston Conservatory of Music and is an adjunct professor of English and music history at Wentworth Institute of Technology and at Simmons College, where she directs the college’s concert choir. In 1996, she taught English at Cape Cod Academy and founded the Osterville Community Chorus.
Cathy Bonnett is the chorale’s accompanist, a position she has held since 2000. Her musical career encompasses a variety of expressions, from musical theatre to musical directing at the U.S. Coast Guard Base Chapel and her current position with the Mashpee Congregational UCC church choir.
Highlights of the chorale’s upcoming season at First Church of Christ, Sandwich, include their holiday concert: “What Sweeter Music – Sounds of the Season,” with the music of John Rutter, Lauridsen, Mendelssohn, “The Magnificat” by Durante, sing-along carols arranged by David Willcocks and a sing-along of the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” Strings, brass, piano and timpani will accompany the chorus. Dates are Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m.
The group’s spring concert on April 28 and 29 promises to delight, with love songs by Lennon/McCartney and an oratorio, “Behold My Heart,” written by Paul McCartney.
On June 9, the chorale’s annual fundraiser, “Cabaret au Chocolat,” will feature music celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday and a collection of Broadway classics, augmented by chocolate desserts, savories and wine and their annual scholarship presentation. Funds raised support a scholarship for a local music student as well as for a small orchestra during performances.
Rob and Bev Parke, longtime chorale aficionados, discovered the Cape Cod Chorale after they had moved to the Cape. Rob describes the group as very welcoming with a good mix of people from Bourne to Brewster: “We are unique in the ways we make a place for everyone. At a ‘Cabaret au Chocolat’ gathering, my wife, Bev, and I enjoyed performing together, introducing our number by saying ‘Of course, we are not competitive.’ Then we broke into “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.”
The proof is in the pudding, and those considering joining the group can come and hear for themselves. Buckley said, “After an exhausting or trying day, you come in the door to rehearse, and focus on singing beautiful music with your friends and neighbors. It is magical and transformative. Actually, the chorale can help save the world by bringing a positive voice of hope and justice.”