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2 The B e r k s h i r e Lyric story and how you can help! B e r k s h i r e Lyric is comprised of the only multi-generational choral groups in Berkshire County We provide young people and adults with the opportunity to participate in the highest level of training, practice and choral performances B e r k s h i r e Lyric requests your support for our 50 th anniversary programs Please read on to learn what we do and how you can help, or, donate now (see page 8) Why do we need Music? Music makes a difference in our community (see page 3) It provides access to our musical culture, and singing is FUN! It improves cognitive performance in young and old What makes B e r k s h i r e Lyric different? We re a community of choral groups a total of four groups for both adults and young people (see page 3) We share a common goal to learn, teach and master the art of choral music. We re here to stay - It s our 50 th Anniversary! We ve been singing, teaching and entertaining in the Community since 1963! (see page 4) We re still growing! (see page 6) B e r k s h i r e Lyric Performance Groups Berkshire Lyric Chorus (see page 4) Blafield Children s Chorus (see page 5) Berkshire Singers (see page 5) Ubi Caritas (see page 6) B e r k s h i r e Lyric Scholarship and Educational Programs Young Singers Scholarship Program (see page 6) Berkshire Lyric Choral Scholars Program (see page 7) Blafield Children s Chorus Annual Summer Camps (see page 7) How Can You Help? Support an individual B e r k s h i r e L y r i c group, concert, scholarship or program (see page 8) Become a B e r k s h i r e L y r i c underwriter, sponsor or partner (see page 8) Berkshire Lyric Page 2

3 Music Makes a Difference in Our Community Music is a subject that affects us all. We hear it in the background of our daily lives on the television, on the radio, when we log onto the computer. Yet we are on the precipice of losing a generation to white noise, instead of understanding and appreciating our musical cultural heritage. Studies have shown that music improves cognitive performance in both the young and old. In healthy older adults, classical music has been shown to significantly improve working memory performance, while students with musical experience consistently score higher on standardized exams. Yet, as we are all aware, the state of the economy has forced more and more schools to diminish their music programs or cease them all together. This is particularly unfortunate in our state, given that music education was first introduced into public schools in Massachusetts. Without these programs, music becomes an optional activity which many families cannot afford. Fortunately for Berkshire County, Berkshire Lyric offers multiple opportunities for residents of all ages to learn and perform great music, in a community well known around the world for its impact on music. Founded in 1963 by Robert Blafield and the late Angela Talbot, Berkshire Lyric began as a musical theatre performance group that has grown to be the only multi-generational performance and educational group in the Berkshires. While there are many musical performance groups in the Berkshires, we are the only community performance group providing scholarships, tuition-free education and quality performance opportunities to residents young and old. What Makes Berkshire Lyric Different? Berkshire Lyric is more than just a chorus it is a community of choral groups for adults, teens and children with the common goal of learning and mastering the art of choral music. We believe that this program of multi-generational musical performance and education is very important work, unique among arts groups in Berkshire County. Berkshire Lyric Page 3

4 Throughout our 50 year history, we have remained true to this vision and continue to grow and support the community by creating new programs, always mindful of our organizational objectives to: Encourage the art of fine choral singing by presenting high quality performances of a wide range of music classical, folk, pop, jazz and modern Provide training, practice and performance opportunities for the development of talent Provide scholarship opportunities for deserving students of choral music Provide tuition-free musical opportunities to children of all backgrounds We strive for artistic excellence and seek to strengthen our role as the premiere advocate for fine choral singing and music education in the Berkshires and we need your help. Berkshire Lyric Sharing Music with the Community since 1963 Berkshire Lyric has been a fixture in the Berkshire musical landscape for 50 seasons. As a nonprofit, federally tax exempt charitable organization, we are supported in part by grants from local Massachusetts Cultural Councils and corporate sponsors, as well as gifts from individual contributors. However, these donations typically cover only our annual expenses, without providing the necessary room for fiscal growth. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Jack Brown, we remain focused on our goal to ensure that these opportunities remain available, while giving the community consistently high quality performances throughout the year. Our Performance Groups The Berkshire Lyric family of choruses presents unique, high quality programs throughout Berkshire County during the year: The Berkshire Lyric Chorus is comprised of between 50 to 70 singers from all walks of life. The chorus performs diverse choral music several times a Berkshire Lyric Page 4

5 year in the Berkshires, culminating with an annual spring oratorio program. These concerts employ excellent professional singers and instrumentalists as soloists and orchestral players. Many come from or reside in the Berkshires. Over the years, we have presented operas, operettas, Broadway musicals, cabaret evenings, joyful holiday Christmas concerts and most of the great oratorios. Notable performances under founding director Robert Blafield with full orchestra and outstanding soloists have included the Bach Mass in B minor, Mozart's Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Bloch's Sacred Service and Dvorak's Stabat Mater. Our current Artistic Director Jack Brown has led a performance of the rarely heard Stravinsky Mass in a concert paired with the Mozart Coronation Mass. In May 2010, the group performed Rachmaninoff s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with the internationally renowned Konovets Quartet of St. Petersburg, Russia. A year later, The Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the Blafield Children s Chorus performed Orff s Carmina Burana and in May 2012, these two choruses combined to perform the Requiem by Karl Jenkins, a modern Welsh composer. The Blafield Children s Chorus, named in honor of founding director Robert Blafield, continues a tradition of joyous musicmaking, presenting six varied programs throughout the county each season. This group of children between the ages of 6-13 is the only professionally led, tuitionfree children s choir in the county. The Berkshire Singers provides high school age singers the opportunity to perform a variety of programs throughout the season. Again, this is a tuition-free, professionally led organization funded by Berkshire Lyric. Over the years, many members have moved on to join the Berkshire Lyric Chorus. Berkshire Lyric Page 5

6 We re Still Growing Artistic Director Jack Brown has initiated and added these new ventures for the current performance year, : Summer Ubi Caritas - The NEW Chorus in Our Family, is a select group that premiered in the summer of 2012, with 20 of the finest young singers in Berkshire County, ages 15-25, performing four benefit concerts. Most of these singers had previously received training, practice, financial support and performance opportunities with Berkshire Lyric. July 13, Blafield Children s Chorus was invited by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform at the Tappen House at Tanglewood as part of the BSO s 75th anniversary. December 29, 2012 at 3 PM - Berkshire Lyric s Handel s Messiah Community Sing, First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield will feature the Blafield Children s Chorus, Berkshire Singers, Berkshire Lyric Chorus and anyone in the general public who would like to participate. Our Scholarship and Educational Programs The Young Singers Scholarship Program (formerly known as the Young Musicians Scholarship Program), was founded in 2001 and awards scholarships to the top vocal and instrumental young talent, ages 13 to 21, from Berkshire County and the surrounding areas. Winners have gone on to study at prestigious national music schools. This program is funded entirely through Berkshire Lyric and is unique for any size performing arts organization in Berkshire County. The Berkshire Lyric Adopt a High School Choir Program In 2008, the Berkshire Lyric Chorus started an annual tradition of inviting a local high school choir to join us in a beautiful holiday concert. The selected group performs part of the program on their own, and then joins with Berkshire Lyric in several selections. The young singers get a chance to sing in a more formal program accompanied by professional musicians, an opportunity not generally available to high school programs. Berkshire Lyric Page 6

7 The Berkshire Lyric Choral Scholars Program The Choral Scholars Program provides performance and learning opportunities for a select group of outstanding high school singers, each nominated by their high school choral director. In addition to joining us in our annual masterworks concert, these young singers receive special coaching from Jack Brown, take part in professional vocal workshops with other artists and receive a scholarship for further vocal study. "Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of singing with your group this spring. It has been a wonderful experience to work at such a pace with such thrilling, intense music and to be singing with a group so talented. The scholarships will be extremely helpful with my studies," wrote a recent Choral Scholar. Berkshire Lyric Cabaret Evenings, held in the summer, provide an opportunity for young vocalists to perform publicly with a professional jazz trio in an intimate setting. Typically, the vocalists include winners of the Young Singers Scholarship competition and former Blafield Children s Chorus members. Instrumentalists from the Young Singers Scholarship program are also given the opportunity to appear as soloists and sit in with the jazz trio during these performances Blafield Children s Chorus Summer Choral Camp In the summer of 2009 we introduced our first annual, free Choral Camp for children ages During weeklong sessions, the children sing and have fun together while learning the basics of singing, music theory, music history, and even some conducting from Artistic Director Jack Brown. These camps are now held in both Dalton and Stockbridge. In 2012, 40 young singers joined us for these camps which end with a performance for family and friends. Berkshire Lyric Page 7

8 Invest in Your Community s Musical Future We are turning to local foundations, corporations and individuals, already vested in the community, to help us maintain and grow our programs for future musicians and concertgoers in the Berkshires. There are several ways you can help (your contributions are tax deductible.) Underwriter, Minimum contribution $2,000 In gratitude for a contribution at this level, you will be entitled to: Four tickets to all Berkshire Lyric performances and special events Recognition in all publicity and programs for the season A website alliance between our organizations Sponsor, Minimum contribution $1,000 As thanks for your support, we will provide you with: Two tickets to all Berkshire Lyric performances and special events Recognition in all publicity and programs for the season A website alliance between our organizations Partner, Minimum contribution $500 As thanks for your support, we will provide you with: Public recognition in all publicity and programs for the season A website alliance between our organizations You may designate your donation to our general fund or to a specific group, concert, scholarship or program as follows: Underwrite all or a portion of one of our three main concerts: our Holiday performance in December, a lighthearted Kick the Winter Blues program in April, or our formal Masterworks concert in June. Endow scholarships for our annual Young Singers Scholarship and Berkshire Lyric Choral Scholars programs. These scholarships will be named in your honor and presented to the winners at public performances during the season. Contribute directly to our educational outreaches: Berkshire Lyric s Adopt a High School Choir Program, Blafield Children s Chorus and the Blafield Children s Chorus Summer Choral Camps. Your gift can be given directly to one program or to educational outreach, in general. Berkshire Lyric Page 8

9 Benefits to the Community While we recognize that the current state of the economy has hit everyone in one way or another, we strongly believe that this multi-generational approach to music education and performance is very important to the well-being of our community. Consider what your gift will mean to those around you: Learning opportunities for young musicians who otherwise would not have the chance to study with professionals and pursue their musical aspirations and dreams; Unique, professional performance experiences for musicians of all ages; Tuition-free, professionally led musical programs available to young people who want to grow musically High-caliber choral performances and music programs accessible for the community year-round. Thank You! Any support that you can give will be greatly appreciated. Together we can ensure that this unique part of the Berkshires musical heritage grows and lives on for years to come. Who s Who Jack Brown, Artistic Director Berkshire Lyric welcomed Jack Brown as its new director in He brings a wide range of musical experience to the entire Berkshire Lyric organization. He is well known to our audience as a singer, having taken the solo baritone parts in many of our well received concerts over the years, including Bach's Mass in B Minor, Bloch's Sacred Service and Mendelssohn's Elijah. He has also appeared as a soloist with every choral society in the region, including Albany Pro Musica and the Berkshire Bach Society. Nationally, he continues to perform as a soloist, most recently in the Brahms Requiem in Georgia and Beethoven 9th in Illinois. His early training as an instrumentalist was followed by his primary vocal study with Richard Cross at Juilliard and choral conducting with Robert Baker of Yale and Union Theological Seminary. A native of Philadelphia and a long time New Yorker, he now lives in Stockbridge. Jack is the choral director at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington. He is also on the faculty at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT and at The Berkshire Music School in Pittsfield where he teaches voice. He enjoys working closely with young singers and choirs and has added many new educational outreaches to Berkshire Lyric. Berkshire Lyric Page 9

10 In January 2009, he took over the direction of our beloved Blafield Children's Chorus and in the summer instituted the first Blafield Children's Chorus Choral Camp. Joe Rose, Accompanist and Director of the Berkshire Singers Joe Rose served as the accompanist for his high school choir in the 1960s and since then has been continuously involved in many aspects of musical performance, composition and direction. He is the Music Director at St. Charles Church in Pittsfield, where he leads three choirs and a full music program. The accompanist for all the choirs of the Berkshire Lyric for many years with Bob Blafield, he continues to support the choirs as an outstanding pianist, organist, and arranger. He is also heavily involved as a jazz pianist, arranger and producer. He has won the Telly Award twice for outstanding achievement in musical composition and sound design. He records and produces local artists, and also performs regionally in jazz and pop venues. In the summer, he serves as the music director for our successful Cabaret fundraiser for the Blafield Children's Chorus, featuring a jazz trio and several outstanding young singers at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. Board of Directors President: Jeanne Zanetti Treasurer: Michael Wessel Secretary: Elizabeth Barbour Directors: Jack Brown (ex officio), Douglas Brand, John Chivers, Joe Gelinas, Debbie Kelson, Jaclyn Stevensen Berkshire Lyric Theatre, Inc. P.O. Box 347 Pittsfield, MA For further information on Berkshire Lyric, call or visit Berkshire Lyric Theatre, Inc. is a nonprofit, federally tax exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Berkshire Lyric Page 10

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