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New Jersey Choral Society performs in Europe
by Lori Howard for Vocal Area Network
Posted August 22, 2005

NJCS in Dvorak Hall, PragueMembers of the New Jersey Choral Society, joined by singing friends from Connecticut, New Jersey and North Carolina, spent early July on a triumphant ten-day performance tour of the Czech Republic and Germany. Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria was the focal piece of the choir’s repertoire during its four-performance schedule.

NJCS collaborated with the talented Prague Student Orchestra for a concert on July 4 at Dvorak Hall, one of Europe’s premiere concert halls. Dvorak Hall is the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and considered to be “acoustically superb”. For mezzo-soprano Jill Guartafierro, who performed a solo aria in the Gloria, this concert was an “extraordinary experience. My ‘thrill of a lifetime’ occurred when I walked out onto the stage where so many singers have trod, and up to the front of the stage to sing my solo. What a rush!” Soprano Lois Hainsselin was “honored and excited” to have the opportunity to perform a solo, and sing in the duet movement "Laudamus Te" in Dvorak Hall. “The view from the front of the orchestra was beautiful and the audience was very warm and emotional. This was the highlight of the entire tour for me and I felt how privileged I was to share my love of music through my voice.”

Under the dynamic direction of conductor Eric Dale Knapp, the New Jersey Choral Society also sang in the lovely 18th century St. Nicholas Church in Prague’s Old Town Square, where the choir received a standing ovation. Traveling toward Berlin, NJCS stopped in Golzow, Germany to perform in this small village’s Octagonal Church. The performers were greeted warmly by the village residents at a post-concert reception and impromptu sing-along. The group’s concert in Berlin was held at the Gedächtniskirche, or Memorial Church, built as a monument to peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of World War II. Performing there on July 7, the day of the London bombings, made the choir’s encore of John Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing particularly moving and appropriate.

The New Jersey Choral Society is now looking forward to next summer, when it plans to participate in a music festival in Sydney, Australia. Eric Dale Knapp will be conducting the Voices in the House Festival Choir and Orchestra with organist Frederick Swann in Sydney’s Town Hall, St. Mary's Cathedral and the world famous Sydney Opera House.

NJCS is a Bergen County-based community chorus, one of New Jersey’s most prestigious choral groups, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. NJCS presents three concerts each season at Bergenfield High School, which include a holiday concert in December, a “Pops” concert mid-winter and a major choral work in the spring. For further information about the New Jersey Choral Society, call (201) 652-3590 or visit them online at www.njcs.org.


Lori Howard is vice president of communications for the New Jersey Choral Society. This article, her first for Vocal Area Network, was adapted from an NJCS press release.


Content Contact: Lori Howard.
Revision Date: August 22, 2005.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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