Chorale to present at GMHS

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Chorale to present Brahms’ A German Requiem at GMHS

By Molly Mead

The Farmington Valley Chorale, with Ellen G. Voth, artistic director, will present Brahms’ A German Requiem on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Granby Memorial High School with professional orchestra and soloists soprano Rochelle Bard and baritone Sumner Thompson. Two years in the planning, the concert will feature more than 100 singers, including nine from the Granby area and an orchestra of more than 50 instruments.

The chorale is eagerly taking on the challenge of performing Brahms’ choral masterwork for the first time in its 40-plus year history. According to Dr. Voth, “An outstanding masterpiece like the Brahms’ Requiem brings out the best in performers, and it is definitely bringing out the best in the chorale this year. It is a privilege to be artistic director for an endeavor that is so fruitful, on so many levels.”

In addition to attending weekly rehearsals, which began in September, many singers have also been studying German with chorale member and German teacher, Betsy Baumbach of Bloomfield, who is volunteering her time. In 2013, the chorale received grants from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and Greater Hartford Arts Council to help defray the costs of mounting this monumental work.

Praised by critics as an ‘exquisite’ singing actress, Rochelle Bard has won prizes from prestigious competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards and has performed leading roles in opera companies across the nation.  Bard who has degrees from Holy Cross and the New England Conservatory, resides in West Hartford, where she teaches voice at the Hartt School of Music and is the music director at the Church of St. Timothy.

Hailed as “the real thing” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and praised for his elegant style by the Boston Globe, Sumner Thompson is quickly becoming one of the most sought after young baritones in this country and abroad. His appearances on the operatic stage include roles in productions from Boston to Copenhagen. He has also performed as a soloist with leading ensembles and orchestras across North America. Thompson, who studied at Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, lives in the Boston area and records for the Harmonia Mundi USA, Dorian and Arsis labels.

The performance date on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Granby Memorial High School is a change from previous announcements. Tickets are $15 at the door; full-time students are free. For more information and tickets, visit the chorale’s website at

Farmington Valley Chorale- Rochelle Bard