Summer Festival Chorus celebrates a decade of music at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


The popular Summer Festival Chorus of Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, under the direction of Carole Ann Maxwell, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a concert of favorites and the premiere of a new composition by jazz pianist/composer Joe Utterback, Ph.D.

The Quick Center choral program brings together singers with a wide range of experience in the arts and a passion for music. After auditions in June, about 100 seasoned vocalists from around the region will rehearse twice a week for a grand finale concert in August.

This year's program features Dr. Utterback's "The Music Makers," which was commissioned especially for the event, accompanied by brass and percussion ensemble. In addition, the eclectic performance will include Schutz's "Psalm 100," a jazz arrangement of Gershwin's "Summertime," portions of Schubert's "Magnificat," the spiritual "Ain-a That Good News" and choral favorite "Danny Boy." An accompanying slide show will offer photos of past concerts culled by the 10th anniversary committee, which is busy contacting all past members about the celebration.

Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell's ability to pick challenging, yet popular pieces is one reason the Summer Festival Chorus is so popular with both the singers and the audience, according to Lin Clayton, an eight-year veteran of the Quick Center program.

"She picks music that singers want to sing," Clayton said. "And it's music people want to hear. There's something for everybody."

The program also provides a rare summer singing opportunity, said Don Walters, who has performed in all nine concerts. Walters is a member of the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, which, like many other choruses and church choirs, takes a summer break. Past choristers have traveled from as far away as Southbury and Brewster, N.Y. to participate in the Quick Center program, he said.

"It's the high point of the summer for many people," Walters said.

The chorus enjoys a loyal following, playing to a standing-room-only audience. Clayton hopes the committee's work will mean even more success, including securing sponsorship that might make it possible for the group to hire more instrumentalists. This year a special classification of donors will be formed, "Friends of Summer Festival Chorus." It is hoped that the Friends' donations will enable the chorus to enhance its concerts by including professional instrumentalists. In this, the first year, the Friends will be invited to a champagne reception prior to the performance.

"We are very delighted how the chorus program has grown in popularity," said Deborah Sommers, the Quick Center's director of programming. "Besides presenting its regular professional season, the Quick Center has many programs for adults and young people in the community because that partnership is important to us."

Auditions for the 2003 Summer Festival Chorus are scheduled for June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Quick Center. Experienced choral singers are invited to audition and should be prepared to sing vocal warm-ups and exercises. Auditions are not required for previous participants. Rehearsals will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from June to August. A grand finale concert is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call the Quick Center at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396, or visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 12, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 209