ChoruS of East Providence - Home for the Holidays
Special Guest, Bill Harley - "The Mark Twain of contemporary children's music"!
Seekonk resident Bill Harley (pictured above) performs with renown choir
The ChoruS of East Providence will perform two concerts this holiday season, entitled “Home for the Holidays", with special guest star Bill Harley. The shows will be held on Saturday, December 3rd, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 4th, at 3:00 p.m. at East Providence High School, 2000 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence, RI. "This will be an extraordinary experience for families this holiday season," said an excited Sandra Medeiros, President of the Chorus Board of Directors.
The theme “Home for the Holidays” is based on the song of that title, a hit song of 1954, made famous initially by Perry Como. "This song and other traditional favorites have been selected by our Music Director Beth Armstrong, to entertain your entire family and put you in the spirit of holiday celebration with family and friends," added Medeiros.
Chorus members are thrilled with this years' special guest, Bill Harley. Harley, an entertainer and storyteller has been called "the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music" by Entertainment Weekly. He uses a range of musical styles and his music, with quirky, heart-filled lyrics, appealing to children and adults alike. The well-known Harley has performed for more than 2500 schools and currently lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts. In addition to children's music, he performs at storytelling festivals around the country including appearances at the National Storytelling Festival.
The Seekonk resident received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children (albums consisting of predominantly spoken word versus music or song) for his albums Blah Blah Blah: Stories about Clams, Swamp Monsters, and Pirates & Dogs and Yes to Running. Harley has also published numerous books. These include: Sitting Down To Eat which was selected as an American Booksellers Association Pick of the list; Sarah's Story a Storytelling World Award Winner; and The Amazing Flight of Darius Frobisher his first novel for elementary students. His second novel for children, Night of the Spadefoot Toads, was released in October 2008 and won a Green Earth Book Award. He is currently working on the "Charlie Bumpers vs." series, about the trials and tribulations of a 4th grade boy.
For many in East Providence and surrounding areas, the holidays begin in earnest after attending the popular concerts put on by this community based chorus. The ChoruS will perform under the direction of Beth Armstrong, accompanied by Rena Anthony. The Chorus of East Providence was incorporated as a Rhode Island non-profit organization in September 2007 and is now designated as a 501(c)(3) status organization.
Director Beth Armstrong is also the director of the Greater Tiverton Community Chorus and the Summer Chorus, in addition to the Chorus of East Providence. She recently retired from the music faculty at Roger Williams University. Previously, she directed Voices of Hope, served as director of Choral Activities at the Music School of the RI Philharmonic, and coordinated the Junior Providence Singers. Before moving to Rhode Island, she directed the Suncook Valley Chorale in New Hampshire, and taught public school music for twelve years. A graduate of Tufts University, she pursued a Master’s Degree at the University of New Hampshire. Along with her husband, Stewart, she sang in the Providence Singers for five years.
Accompanist Rena Anthony is a retired music educator having spent 31 years teaching middle school choir and general music in the RI public schools. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rhode Island College. Ms. Anthony is also the director of music at Church of the Transfiguration in Cranston. She accompanies several area school choirs, as well as All State choirs.
Chorus Board of Directors for 2016-2017 are: Robert Sosa, Secretary; Phil Abbatomarco, Treasurer; Sandra Medeiros, President and Donna Gagne, Vice President. Also directors Lisa Bennett, Bethany Conway, Kelsey Lambert, Lisa Taylor, Karen Crowe, Kristin Conway, Paula Wasser, and Ed Crowe. Ex-Officio members are Beth Armstrong as Music Director, and
past presidents Judith Antonio, Betty Capaldo, and Maureen Conroy.
"We are truly a community-based group which hopes to brighten everyone's holiday season and also help those in need," said Medeiros. This season the ChoruS of East Providence is selling holiday tree ornaments. The ornaments commemorate the Chorus' upcoming Tenth Year Anniversary of singing together as well as the ChoruS upcoming July tour of Ireland. Ornaments are $5. Proceeds will benefit the Scholarship Foundation of East Providence, Inc.
"We annually ask for donations of can goods and non perishable foods. This season all donations will benefit the Bread of Life Food Pantry located at Newman Congregational Church, 100 Newman Avenue, Rumford, RI 02916. The pantry is a collaborative, ecumenical effort of six East Providence churches: Bethany Church of the Nazarene, Church of the Epiphany, Evangelical Covenant Church, Haven United Methodist Church, Newman Congregational Church, and St. Margaret Church. The Bread of Life Food Pantry is open to all those in need of food assistance from East Providence and surrounding communities regardless of religious beliefs. This is a remarkable operation that has been successful in fulfilling its mission to “feed the hungry in our midst.” It has also been successful in creating a true sense of community among its volunteers as they work alongside one another to assist clients in need. The ChoruS appreciates any generosity to our efforts to help feed our neighbors, especially as the holidays begin," continued group President Medeiros.
Tickets for the two December concerts are $15.00 - Seniors $12.00 - Children 12 and under are admitted free. The ChoruS website is www.chorusofep.org or for tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com.