Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

SULLIVAN COUNTY COMMUNITY Chorus Director Charles H. Matz, right, leads the members during their Wednesday evening rehearsal at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg.

County's Chorus Still
Going – and Singing – Strong

By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY — April 27, 2001 – The Sullivan County Community Chorus will kick off its silver anniversary year over the next two weekends.
The chorus will perform “Requiem” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at two locations on consecutive Sundays.
The first performance of “Requiem” will take place at 3 p.m. this Sunday, April 29 at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg. The second concert will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 in the Seelig Theatre at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake.
Admission for each concert is $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens. Childrens’ tickets are free of charge.
The chorus will be accompanied by the Delaware Valley Chamber Orchestra.
Chorus member Barbara Konvalin noted that Gloria Krause, general manager of the Delaware Valley Opera and a board member of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, was “instrumental in pulling the musicians together.”
“We had our first combined rehearsal last night,” Konvalin said yesterday morning. “I was impressed. We sounded magnificent together.”
Orchestra members accompanying the chorus for “Requiem” include Valerie Bynum, Noreen Davis, Mary Ellen Holder and Donna Kushner (all of whom are violinists); Nancy Wegryzn (viola); Kristie Beamer (cello) and Rick McKurdyncy (string bass). Joining the orchestra for the performances are Monticello High School students Lisa Accardembly (clarinet), Greg Emerson (tympanist) and Chris Trombley (trumpet). Playing trombone in the orchestra will be Leanna Curley, instrumental music instructor at Monticello Middle School, and Mike Williams, who is the director of the Liberty High School band.
A Quarter-Century of Song
The Sullivan County Community Chorus began 25 years ago with a conversation between two Monticello Central School teachers. Math teacher Lucille Horton heard that the new music teacher, Martin Banner, wanted to form a county chorus for adults.
Horton soon began accompanying the chorus on piano. The group began performing twice a year in local churches, and in 1978 the chorus incorporated as a non-profit organization.
Although the number of singers in the chorus has varied over the years, it has continued to perform in numerous county venues in its 25-year history. Among those locations are St. Peter’s Church in Liberty, St. Peter’s Church in Monticello, the Liberty Presbyterian Church, Monticello Presbyterian Church and Ahavath Israel Synagogue in Liberty.
As noted in the chorus by-laws, the members strive to “maintain the performances of the great choral works alive.”
Currently, the chorus performs four concerts a year, two in the spring and two in December. (The members take the summer off.)
Charles H. Matz is in his sixth year as director of the Sullivan County Community Chorus, and Horton is still the accompanist.
The chorus, which currently has about 35 active members, includes adults of all ages from Sullivan County – and some from western Ulster County.
Featured soloists for the “Requiem” concerts are Susan Conroy (soprano), David Crystal (tenor), Barbara Konvalin (contralto) and Kenneth Rodgers (baritone).
Other current members of the chorus include:
• Sopranos – Tara Berescik, Ellen Bravo, Leanna Curley, Regina Hartman, Carol Hillman, Elisabeth Joshi, Miriam Kailer, Betty Lindsay, Eleanor Lubniewski, Frances Lubniewski, Marlene Mavoides and Teresa Serrone
• Altos – June Barrett, Leslie Colburn, Lela Dunbar, Rose Hilton, Carrie Knapp, Anne Solenski and Lisa Topolovec
• Bass – Charlie Barbuti, Jr., Richard Kelly, Stuart Knapp, Russell Scheirer, Richard Topper and Frank Wolf
• Tenors – David Coon, Gregory Finnegan, Kevin Giroux and Glenn Horton.
“This is a real Sullivan County effort,” Konvalin commented. “We are bringing important works of classical music to the county.”
All of the performances by the chorus in 2001 are dedicated to the memory of Mary Loftus. An original member of the chorus, Loftus died last year at the age of 96.
To reserve tickets for the “Requiem” concerts or to learn more about the Sullivan County Community Chorus, call 794-7869.

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