Fun, High Spirited and Colorful Choral Productions
In September of 1993, following a summer of grass-root recruitment, forty-eight singers came together under the direction of local choir director and organist, Eric Brown, to prepare a holiday musical program. Three months later, 'A Christmas Concert' was performed for a small, yet overwhelmingly appreciative crowd at the Memorial United Methodist Church of Taunton. The name of this very young, but extremely enthusiastic ensemble was the Bristol-Plymouth Community Chorus. Its goal was to give local audiences and members alike the opportunity to experience a bold approach to choral performance through the presentation of fun, high-spirited and colorful, choral productions.
A Fresh Approach
Word of this new community group and its dynamic young director quickly spread, and soon the group had added more singers and nearly doubled its audience. During those early years, the chorus experimented liberally with its fresh approach by incorporating costumed soloists, choreography and whimsical scenery into its performances. It was also during this time that the group began to seed what would become its signature orchestra.
Performances Near and Far
In the summer of 1996, the group presented a cabaret-style production staged at a renowned local landmark, the Roseland Ballroom. The event, which featured costumes, a guest dance troupe, and special effects lighting, marked a turning point for the chorus, as it was the first time the group had ventured away from its home at Memorial United Methodist Church. It was then decided that a new goal for the group would be to seek out diverse venues in a variety of locales where the chorus would perform. Over the next several years the group upheld this new priority performing in auditoriums in Somerset, Middleboro, Bridgewater, and Taunton, the grand sanctuaries of Taunton's First Parish, St. Mary's and Annunciation of Our Lord Churches, and the recently restored Middleboro Town Hall.
A New Beginning
With travel to more widespread areas, membership expanded to include singers from a larger geographical area, and it began to be evident that a name change for the chorus might be in order. In the spring of 2002, the group officially became the Southeastern Massachusetts Festival Chorus (SMFC), adopting a name that better reflected the group's membership, audience and mission. It was also during this time that the group introduced audition requirements for membership as well as formal performance attire.
Throughout the years, the group has experienced many exciting new challenges. In 1998, a youth chorus was introduced under the direction of SMFC Assistant Music Director Corinne Varjabedian. First named BPCC Kids, and later renamed Festival Youth Chorus, the group remained a vibrant part of SMFC's organization and performances until Corinne's retirement in 2009. The SMFC Orchestra, which began humbly as a small pit ensemble to accompany the chorus, has evolved into a full symphonic orchestra that has enhanced SMFC's concerts as well as its reputation in the music community. And most recently, the SMFC has adopted a new priority of raising awareness of local and national causes and is proud to have partnered with such worthy charitable organizations as American Cancer Society and Homes For Our Troops.
In addition to presenting its own concerts, SMFC enthusiastically seeks opportunities to perform at community and regional events and has toured to such exciting venues as Tweeter Center's Fourth of July Celebration, Martha's Vineyard Tabernacle, Boston's Hynes Center and the Providence Performing Arts Center. Not forgetting its roots in the local community however, the SMFC continues to embrace opportunities to participate in performances at local Hospice services, area nursing homes and community events.
The Journey Continues
Through SMFC's many changes, a few core priorities have remained the same: the group's love of music, its team-spirited commitment to musical excellence, and its basic, earnest desire to have fun in the process. We are tremendously thankful for the enduring support we receive from our audience and the community and hope that you will continue to enjoy this journey with us.