On May 5, 2019, five days before the college officially closes for the semester, there is an opportunity for the students and faculty to attend a special performance at the Redfern Arts Center. The Keene Chorale is performing on Sunday,May 5, on the 40th anniversary season of the Chorale and the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. The Keene Chorale is preparing to perform Bernstein’s controversial work, “Mass” on the day.
According to their website, Keene Chorale is a non-profit organization. It is an eighty-voice chorus that started in 1979 with a handful of choristers. One of the special things of the Keene Chorus is that it is a non-auditioned chorus and is open to all. The Chorale is composed of singers of all ages across the Monadnock region, as well as local high school and Keene State College singers. According to the Music Director of the Chorale, Cailin Marcel Manson, “There have been on numerous occasions that music students at Keene State College have sung in the Keene State Chorale.” According to Manson, the mission of the Chorale is to promote fine music throughout the region and to encourage participation in it. He further said, “We welcome anyone who’s willing to put in the effort and make the commitment to attend rehearsals and learn the music. If you are willing to come and sing and learn, there’s a spot for you in Keene Chorale.”
The Keene Chorale is the winner of 2018 Ewing Arts Award for performance art. Manson describes the achievement as a shot in the arm, or an encouraging experience. Ewing Arts Award is an award presented by The Keene Sentinel and Arts Alive! together to celebrate the diversity and excellence of artists in the Monadnock region, according to the website.
Suzanne Coble, publicity chair of the Keene Chorale and member of the Chorale, described the experience, “This performance certainly has stretched us a bit. This piece is kind of in constant movement and there is a lot of moving parts. The challenge of it is to be aware of how your part fits into the whole.” Coble added, “It feels like it is a really big collaboration. It is a piece that certainly incorporates a lot of conflict.” It is very challenging in the technical sense according to Coble.