(As printed on the Beaver County Radio website / Matt Drzik, October 23, 2023)
Not one member of the current iteration of the Beaver Valley Choral Society was born when the organization began at Beaver College back on October 23, 1923. This fact did not stop them from presenting a performance worth 100 years of celebration.
Before a large crowd at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Hopewell, the BVCS formally commemorated 100 years of song in the Beaver Valley by performing selections from the oratorio “Messiah” composed by Georg Frédérich Handel. The group of principal vocalists and instrument
alists was joined by members of the Academy Chamber Orchestra from Pittsburgh, along with featured mezzo-soprano soloist Caroline Friend.
Following the opening number–Lloyd Larsen’s “Celebrate The Day”–the evening opened with an introduction from BVCS President Jim Angeloni, followed by the Historical Address from Chief Historian (and trombonist) Bob Headland. A proclamation from the Beaver County Commissioners was then read aloud by Board Member (and bass singer) Rick Murphy before being presented to BVCS Artistic Director Sharon Burchill.
Additionally, the performance of “Messiah” was an interactive one. Not only did Burchill occasionally turn from the choir towards the audience to conduct them, but the BVCS provided copies of the music to those in attendance.
In all, the centennial was lauded by the attendees, who stood and applauded following the final note of the first 100 years–a century of a non-profit group of ordinary citizens who only need three requirements to be active: to pay dues, to sing to the glory of God, and to sing “tunefully”.
On this night, they sang exceptionally.