A carol festival ‘everyone can enjoy’

The First Congregational Church will once again be the setting for the Community Carol Festival in Westfield. (Submitted photo)

WESTFIELD – Since September, more than 20 singers and musicians have been rehearsing for the annual Community Carol Festival at First Congregational Church.

Now in its 20th year, the event on Dec. 1 features the First Church Senior Choir, under the direction of Allan Taylor, and the New England Brass Quartet.

“The main purpose of this concert is to bring the community together, to enjoy the season and have fun,” said Taylor. “It gives everyone in the greater Westfield area the opportunity to hear live music performed in a beautiful and historic space, and to sing along with the choir and brass to celebrate the season.”

Taylor became the Minister of Music at First Church in the fall of 1987, and is responsible for the instrumental and choral music for church services. He is also an adjunct professor of music at Westfield State University, where he has taught a wide variety of courses including music theory, music history, conducting, orchestration, and ear training. He has also directed the university’s two fine arts choral ensembles.

The concert will feature approximately 75 minutes of music with one 10-minute intermission.

“The choir will sing a variety of Christmas songs, from much-loved carols to new songs based on traditional text,” said Taylor. “The audience will be invited to join in singing five familiar carols, led by the choir and accompanied by the organ and the New England Brass Quartet.”

Taylor added that the quartet will also play its own set of seasonal music.

There are 16 singers in the choir, including soloists Patrice Metcalf, soprano; Michelle Winer, alto; Marc Winer, tenor, and Jack Tozzi, bass.

Quartet members include John Smialek and Brooks Holmes on trumpet; Ken Longstreeth on trombone, and Steve Glover, on bass trombone.

Having received a donation from the Westfield Cultural Council as well as support from several individual donors, the 4 p.m. concert is free and open to the public. A freewill offering will be gratefully accepted at the door.

Following the concert, a reception to meet the performers is planned, and sweet treats will be provided.

Taylor encourages area residents to come in from the cold and enjoy an afternoon of music at First Church.

“When the audience sings with the choir, organ and brass, the sound is exhilarating and
vibrant,” said Taylor. “Even though the music’s focus is on Christmas, it’s an event that everyone can enjoy, and where everyone is welcomed, including children.”

For more information on First Church at 18 Broad St., visit churchonthegreen.org or call (413) 568-2833.

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