Old North Festival Chorus

-- 2021-2022 Season --
A safe and heartfelt Welcome Back!

Save the Dates!  You're Invited! 

-- Learn more below --


David Coffin


An Evening of Sea Chanteys

Wednesday, October 20, 7:30pm


Jacqueline Schwab


Piano improvisations & audience sing-along

Wednesday, October 27, 7:30pm


Festival Chorus (*) Holiday Concerts

featuring the Old North Festival Soloists and Festival Orchestra,

with audience sing-along!
(*) due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and concerns,

the Festival Chorus will not perform on these occasions,

but is enthusiastically encouraged to attend as members of the audience

especially to participate in the carol sing-along!

​Saturday, December 4, 8pm

Sunday,  December 5, 7:30pm

Check back soon for information about obtaining tickets to these Holiday Concerts!


COME ONE!  COME ALL!  Join us on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, for a maritime voyage on the high seas with Gloucester resident David Coffin, nationally acclaimed for his captivating presentations of Sea Chanteys and Whaling Songs!  Well known as the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Christmas Revels, David’s extraordinary baritone voice and his impressive collection of musical instruments, is sure to delight!  David’s musical family is impressive: his father, Reverend William Sloane Coffin, studied to be a concert pianist with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and his grandfather was pianist Arthur Rubinstein!


SAVE THE DATE!  On Wednesday, October 27, from 7:30-8:30pm, pianist Jacqueline Schwab, noted for her evocative playing on the sound tracks of documentary film maker Ken Burns’ Civil War (Grammy award), Baseball, Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War and others, will perform a solo piano concert and lead the audience in a sing-along. 


These very special programs are offered as part of the Wednesday night Festival Chorus “Fall Sessions” taking place at Old North from 7:30-8:30pm.  Doors open at 7pm; entrance is through the Parish Hall.  All in attendance must show proof of vaccination, wear tight-fitting masks, and remain distanced in the sanctuary pews.  A free-will offering will be gratefully accepted at the door, with proceeds to help defray Festival Chorus expenses this season.  It is not necessary to be a member of the Festival Chorus, the Old North Senior Choir, or Old North Church to attend! 

A Message from Director Maria van Kalken...


As we welcome a beautiful – and hopeful – Fall season, I should like to share my plan for gathering both returning, and new, members of the Festival Chorus at Old North Church.


It goes without saying that I have missed you terribly!  I can’t wait to see you, I am overjoyed at the prospect of hearing your beautiful singing voices, and I’m especially excited to introduce you to our two (2) new fabulous section leaders – Gabriela Fagen, alto, and Daniel Fridley, bass – to complement our gifted soprano section leader, Holly Cameron.  Gabriela replaces our departing Stephanie Scarcella, while the search for a tenor soloist continues.


Importantly, I’d like to state up front that your safety and comfort is my top priority, and neither I, nor your colleague singers, will harbor any adversarial feelings should you wish to refrain from joining in person this fall.


After consulting with numerous medical experts, colleague choir directors, artists, and attending many online workshops, I feel confident that we can safely gather together again – in person – as long as the guidelines outlined below, are honored:

  • We will convene in the Old North Church sanctuary on Wednesday evenings, from 7:30 to 8:30pm, beginning October 6 through December 1, 2021

  • All participants must be fully vaccinated and be prepared to show proof of vaccination

  • All participants must wear a well-fitted, ideally 3-ply, face mask at all times, even when singing

  • All participants will be required to register personal contact information – including proof of vaccination – either before arriving at the first session, or at the first attended session

  • New members would be welcomed at any session during this 9-session season, again, assuming personal contact information – including proof of vaccination, is submitted

  • Once your contact information – and proof of vaccination is submitted – I’d ask that you simply “sign in” at each session, so that we can easily trace participants at each session

  • All participants will be seated in sections – according to voice parts – separated from one another by a minimum of six (6) feet

  • The maximum number of allowable participants – at any given session – will be one hundred (100). The sanctuary at Old North accommodates nearly 500, so this 20% maximum capacity allows for plenty of distance between participants.


If you are enthusiastic about gathering in person, and if you are willing to adhere to these guidelines, I have planned a season of joyful and inspiring sessions – to include a combination of listening, learning, and singing.


I sincerely hope we will be able to present a live concert – as has been our tradition – during the Christmas Walk, however, this undertaking is still under consideration by the Festival Chorus and Music Committees.  Certainly, such a project would include a much smaller audience, a shorter program, and a complicated set of circumstances to overcome.  Clearly, we cannot safely accommodate our traditional 100+ enthusiastic voices in the risers, 350+ audience members, and an Orchestra, but the Committees and I are considering how to safely engage some members of our Festival Orchestra, soloists, and the congregation, in a safe, responsible, and festive holiday program.


Again, this is a constantly evolving journey – coping with safe and responsible re-entry from Covid – but rest assured that for any such public gathering, all participants and audience members would be required to show proof of vaccination, proper identification, and wear face coverings at all times.




Minister of Music, Old North Church

Director, Old North Festival Chorus

Festival Chorus concerts are sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Marblehead Arts Council, as administered  by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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