Old North Festival Chorus

-- 2020-2021 Season --
A 40th Anniversary Celebration!



























A Message from Director Maria van Kalken...

On behalf of my colleagues on the Staff at Old North, as well as members of the Festival Chorus and Music Committees, I hope you – and your family and loved ones – are healthy, staying safe, and finding peace and hope during these unprecedented times.

During the last several months – since that most difficult decision back in March, to discontinue Festival Chorus rehearsals and preparations for our spring concert due to the threat of COVID-19 especially to singers and choral groups – I, like you, have been consumed by brainstorming, unraveling, re-thinking, de-constructing, re-constructing, re-building, postponing, learning new tricks, and sadly, cancelling plans.  Motivated by the fact that we are ALL coping with this global pandemic together, my primary objective is to maintain the health and well-being of all participants in Old North's ambitious music program.

To state the obvious, we will not be meeting on Wednesday evenings for the foreseeable future.  And we will not be performing our traditional and cherished holiday concerts – in person – during the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, 2020.  Destabilizing to say the very least, as this season marks the 40th Anniversary of Festival Chorus performances at Old North Church – and a milestone I had so hoped to celebrate in person.

While I had a very different Fall 2020 season in mind, given the COVID-19 related challenges impacting the entire performing arts industry and choral singing in particular, our special celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Old North Festival Chorus & Orchestra will now consist of an exceptional virtual event instead.


On Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 3pm, we shall present a virtual retrospective of 40 years of accomplishment and spectacular Old North Festival Chorus performances.  Our celebration will include an array of photographs and favorite musical excerpts by the Festival Chorus, Orchestra, Bell Choir, Youth Choirs, and a selection of interviews and testimonials from past soloists and guest artists.


A series of virtual events – both in order to raise awareness of the wonderful work of the Old North Festival Chorus, and to raise needed funds to help defray our professional music staff and artist fees – will take place throughout the season.

The first such event, was a Poetry Reading by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck, poet and member of the Old North Festival Chorus – featuring five (5) original poems by “Clem” – as well as choral excerpts by the Old North Festival Chorus, and an introduction by Claire Keyes, Professor Emerita at Salem State College.  This first virtual event – of a series of fall 2020 events to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Old North Festival Chorus – is now available via the Old North Church Marblehead YouTube Channel, and will be, in perpetuity.


The Old North Festival Chorus is supported, in part, by a grant from the Marblehead Cultural Council as administered through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as many local businesses and a host of generous friends.

Download the press release about the 40th Anniversary Virtual Celebration

Download the full press release about the Poetry Reading
Download the promotional Poetry Reading flyer

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