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Four choral groups (Shir Joy Chorus, Westborough; Band of Voices, Barre; Wesley Choir, Worcester and Wesley Ghanian Choir, Worcester) are coming together for a multicultural event. Under the direction of Nan AK Gibbons, director of both the Shir Joy Chorus and Band of Voices, and Brett Maguire, minister of music at the Wesley Church, the concert will highlight the rich culture and diversity of choirs in Worcester County. Learn more about each group below!

Shir Joy Chorus

Shir Joy Chorus is an adult, transdenominational community chorus, dedicated to learning, sharing, and performing Jewish music from the rich and varied Judaic cultures of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. The Chorus performs music in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Ladino.  Founded in 2011, it is an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, funded by the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, the Westborough Cultural Council and the Worcester Arts Council (members of the Massachusetts Cultural Council), and private supporters.  The chorus is non-auditioned and is open to all people regardless of ethnicity or religious background.
Shir Joy is a musical organization dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture through performances and related activities. In addition to its two annual concerts at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, the Chorus performs at other venues such as Arts in Common in Westborough (for the Westborough Cultural Council), Yom Hashoah Commemoration in Worcester, Northborough Community Meals, and Central MA Pastoral Counseling Center fundraisers.

Band of Voices

Band of Voices is celebrating their 20th year as an intergenerational chorus of the people, land, seasons, history, and traditions of central Massachusetts. Though their repertoire sources are worldwide, concerts always include some New England music, local composers, connections to nature, seasons and spirituality. The group’s two main concerts each year occur as close to the Solstices as possible.  For Band of Voices, rehearsals are a way to feed the soul; a rich experience of music and community. Concerts are a way of celebrating community with their faithful, enthusiastic audience, which deepens with every performance and each passing year. Traditions include singalong pieces, sumptuous post-concert refreshments, free concerts, and passing a hat to cover expenses or to donate to a worthy cause. The 26 current members of the BoV hail from Barre, Petersham, Phillipston, Hardwick, Oakham, Wendell, Ware, Hubbardston, Spencer, and Lancaster.

Wesley United Methodist Choirs

Both the Wesley Choir and Wesley Ghanaian Choir have active leadership roles in worship services, leading the singing of hymns, both old and new, and presenting choral anthems at Wesley United Methodist Church. The cathedral-like sanctuary of the church was designed with music and worship as priorities. Since the church’s inception in 1927, the Wesley Choir has sung at Sunday worship services from September to June, and at all other major worship events.  They present choral anthems that give deep biblical texts a rich spiritual presentation. Their anthems are chosen from a rich and diverse heritage: from ancient motets of the Middle Ages (when sacred choral music began) to music being written today. They also present many major choral works, alone and in combination with other choral singers.

The Ghanaian Choir is a dynamic component of the music program at Wesley United Methodist Church. They present lively weekly anthems full of the rhythms, scales and movements of their traditions. They are active participants in the National Choir Conference of Ghanaian Methodist Choirs in North America. Perhaps the most moving part of both choirs’ service to Wesley’s multicultural congregation is their weekly collaboration singing a broad repertoire together from Bach to hymns to exciting musical praise in the Ghanaian/African tradition.

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