Upcoming Performances

  • Lessons and Carols
    First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny
    Sunday, December 15, 2019
    6:00 p.m.

Past Performances

The inaugural Choirfest was hosted by St. Martha's Church in Fairmount Springs and featured Julie Letteer as guest conductor, Pam Zaremba as accompanist, Raphael Micca as music director, and musicians from four local churches. Since the September concert weekend was disrupted by flooding in Shickshinny, an additional performance was scheduled in October of that year. Highlights from the program included Joseph Martin's "Fight the Good Fight," an arrangement of Handel's "Give Thanks to the Lord," and a new setting of the hymn text "What Wondrous Love Is This" by C. Thomas Schwalm featuring cello soloist Rev. Anthony Generose.
The 2005 program featured musicians from eight local churches in a concert of "peace, patriotism, and remembrance." Borough officials and members of the fire department participated in a ceremony held at the municipal building then processed to First United Methodist Church for the concert. Music included an arrangement of "God of Our Fathers," Joseph Martin's "If My People," Steven Warner's setting of the "Coventry Litany of Reconciliation," scripture readings, poetry, and a solo bagpipe performance of "Amazing Grace" by Ed Murphy. Marilou Hinchcliff served as organist and pianist for the concert.
In 2006, Community Choirfest celebrated the centennial of Ascenion Church, Mocanaqua, with an Evensong service. Nearly forty musicians participated in the service which included an extensive procession of banners, flags, choristers and clergy. Pastor Charles Grube of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dallas served as the guest preacher, Rev. Joseph Kakareka, pastor of Ascension Church, served as officiant and Marion Hidlay served as organist. Music included an Anglican chant setting of the Magnificant by William Crotch, a Nunc Dimmitis by Les Emmans, and the hymn "When, In Our Music, God is Glorified."
Simply titled "A Concert of Sacred Music," the 2007 program was performed at First United Methodist, Shickshinny. Music included a setting of the canticle "Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers" by John Rutter, Edward Elgar's "Ave Verum Corpus," Samuel Wesley's "Lead Me, Lord" and Rosephanye Powell's arrangement of the spiritual "I Wanna Be Ready" featuring soprano Rebecca Micca. The St. Cecelia Choir from St. Martha's Church in Fairmount Springs performed Josef Rheinberger's "Ave Maria" and Paul Tate's "The Love of God."
Solemn Vespers for the Feast of the Transfiguration was the highlight of the 2008 Choirfest, hosted by St. Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Mocanaqua. The service was preceded by a brief concert of sacred music and scripture illustrating the story of Jesus' transfiguration of Mount Tabor. Concert selections included "Lord Jesus, Be Near Me" by Natalie Sleeth, "Transfiguration" by Carey Landry, and the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Rev. Anthony Generose served as guest celebrant and preacher for the Vespers service.
"Celebrating our churches, our music, our heritage" was the theme of the 2009 Choirfest. The concert was once again hosted by First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny in honor of the 140th anniversary of the erection of their current church and the 150th anniversary of the congregation. Musical selections included Wesley texts such as "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown," and "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing." Other highlights included an arrangement of the American shape note hymn "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" by Kathryn S. Bonner, "Faith of Our Fathers," and "The Mother's Hymn. Soloist Roger Noss performed George Shea's "I'd Rather Have Jesus."
Community Choirfest 2010 explored eschatological themes during its concert entitled, "Revelation: Music for the End of Time." Scripture, choral selections, and organ music highlighting the themes of heaven, last things, and the Book of Revelation were programmed. Musical highlights included the Sanctus from Gounod's "St. Cecilia Mass" performed by the Community Choir, orchestra, and tenor soloist Roger Noss. Other music included "And Am I Born to Die?" from the Southern Harmony, Richard Hillert's "Festival Canticle" and the Credo from Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass" featuring soprano soloist Kathleen L. McKenzie.
Shickshinny celebrated the sesquicentennial of its incorporation in 2011 and Community Choirfest was a part of the festivities! Two performances were scheduled: one for First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny and one for the West Union Street Community Park. The program told the story of Shickshinny through music, poetry, and narration and featured the premiere of "Shickshinny: 150 Years!" with words by June Kessler and music by R. Micca. Other musical highlights included a performance of "The Coalfields of Shickshinny" by Barry Voight and Chip Taylor, "The Mountains Are Calling Me" by Tom Shelton, the Shickshinny High School alma mater, and the premiere of an arrangement of "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" composed for the Community Choirfest
Our 2012 festival, "Hope and Trust," featured music, poetry and scripture readings based on the theme of hope and trust in the face of hardship. The concert included the premiere of "Hope and Trust" with words by Shickshinny poet June Kessler and music by R. Micca. Other selections included a new arrangement of "Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley" composed for the Choirfest, Joseph Martin's "If My People," Herbert Howells' "All My Hope on God is Founded" and Robert Ray's rousing "He Never Failed Me Yet" featuring soloists Rebecca Micca and Kathleen L. McKenzie.
On the weekend before Independence Day 2013, the Shickshinny Area Community Choir teamed up with the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny to present an evening of patriotic music. Titled "Celebrate America!" the concert included several patriotic organ selections, congregational hymns, bagpipes, the recongition of local veterans, and choral selections.
Community Choirfest celebrated its tenth year with a Vespers service and concert at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny. Highlights of the Vespers service included arrangements of "In Christ, There Is No East or West" and "When In Our Music God is Glorified" and a setting of the Magnificat by James Biery. Pastor Roger Noss sang the Malotte setting of the Lord's Prayer. In addition to "Do You Hear the People Sing" from Les Misérables, the concert included "Beautiful City" from Godspell, "Shickshinny - 150 Years!", and Terre McPheeter's "Look at Us Now," which was also performed at the first annual Choirfest. The men of the choir sang an arrangement of the American cowboy song "Red River Valley."
In December 2013, the Shickshinny Area Community Choir participated in the annual Lessons and Carols service at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny along with the Chancel Choir of First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick. The choir also performed a Christmas choral concert at First United Methodist Church, Nanticoke along with members of the Five Mountain Singers, a new community chamber choir under the direction of Mark Lehnowsky. The choir concluded the Christmas season by leading a Sunday afternoon worship service and carol sing at Bonham Nursing Center in Register.
The eleventh annual Community Choirfest featured music based on a theme of love. Choral selections included the English madrigal "My Bonnie Loss" by Thomas Morley, "Love Never Fails" by J.A.C. Redford, and a choral medley from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story." Acclaimed violinist Dr. Kenneth Sarch performed the haunting "Ashokan Farewell." Also featured were local bagpiper Adam Patla, flutist Rachel Schwiter, cellist Kelli Bertenshaw, and clarinet player David Sherman II in addition to organist and pianist Marilou Hinchcliff. Members of the choir also performed "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood at a patriotic service at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny the weekend following the concert.
In December 2014, the Shickshinny Area Community Choir and the Chancel Choir of First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick together performed Joseph Martin's "Celebration of Carols" cantata at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny as part of its annual Lessons and Carols service.
"Songs for the Journey" featured music with a theme of travel and homecoming including "Spiritual Songs from Cold Mountain", the Brahms "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place", and Joseph Martin's "Songs for the Journey". Violinist Irene Ganahl performed Jay Ungar's "The Lover's Waltz". Also featured were Rachel Schwiter on flute, Adam Patla on bagpipes and horn, David Sherman on clarinet, and Marilou Hinchcliff on piano and organ. Choir members performed an arrangement of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at First United Methodist Church's annual Patriotic Service on June 28.
Folk-inspired Christmas carols filled the air at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny in December 2015 when the Shickshinny Area Community Choir teamed up with First Reformed United Church of Christ Chancel Choir, Berwick to perform Joseph Martin's cantata "Appalachian Winter" as part of the church's annual Lessons and Carols service. In addition to the choirs, Pastor Roger Noss performed "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". Also featured were Nelson Berger, cellist, Dr. Kenneth Sarch, violinist, and Rachel Schwiter, flutist. The Community Choir also performed Christmas carols at Shickshinny's annual "Christmas in the Park" celebration in December and at Bonham Nursing Center in January.
John Henry Newman's beautiful hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light" inspired the thirteenth annual Community Choirfest at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny on June 12, 2016. Musical selections included the Wilhousky "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as well as arrangements of "The Prayer," "You Light Up My Life," Hank William's "I Saw the Light" and the "Agnus Dei" from Joseph Gruber's "Zweites Requiem." The choir also performed a second concert at the Sweet Valley Church of Christ on June 18 and sang at First United Methodist Church's annual Patriotic Service the following Sunday.
In December 2016, the Shickshinny Area Community Choir and the Chancel Choir of First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick together performed selections from Ed Kee's "Christmas, Sing Noel!" cantata and other Christmas carols at choral works at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny as part of its annual Lessons and Carols service. The choir also went caroling at Shickshinny's "Christmas in the Park" and led an Advent worship service and carol sing at Bonham Nursing Center.
The community gathered for an afternoon of "mountain music" surrounded by the beautiful five mountains of Shickshinny on June 11, 2017. Repertoire included an arrangement of Alabama's "Mountain Music," a medley of "Climb Every Mountain" and "You'll Never Walk Alone," and "Climbing High Mountains." The choir was joined by Dr. Kenneth Sarch on violin, Colleen Helmacy on cello, Rachel Schwiter on flute, David Sherman on clarinet, Marilou Hinchcliff on piano and organ, and Joseph Feola on banjo. Several instrumental trios were performed throughout the program. The choir also performed selections at the Bonham Nursing Center and sang at First United Methodist Church's annual Patriotic Service.
In December 2017, the Shickshinny Area Community Choir and the Chancel Choir of First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick once again came together to sing Christmas carols and anthems at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny as part of its annual Lessons and Carols service. Highlights of the service included Dan Forrest's beautiful arrangement of "The First Noel" and a setting of the old English carol "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day." The choir also went caroling at Shickshinny's "Christmas in the Park" earlier in December.
The fifteenth annual Community Choirfest was an opportunity to "Raise Your Voices" in song. Selections included Brendan Graham and Rolf Lovland's "Raise Your Voices," Rory Cooney's "Canticle of the Turning," an arrangement of "America" by Ruth Elaine Schram and concluded with a medley of songs from the Broadway musical Les Miserables. Featured soloists were Kathleen Gill, Karin Lazarowicz, Kathleen L. McKenzie, Rebecca A. Micca, Kaydo Rood, Renie Sasao, David Sherman, Dwain Straight, Thomas Swiatek, and Bob Young. The choir also performed at First United Methodist Church's annual Patriotic Service on Sunday, June 24.
Highlights of the 2018 Lessons and Carols service at First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny included an arrangement of the Polish carol "Christ the Babe is Lord of All," John Williams' "Star of Bethlehem," and Hal Hopson's arrangement of "Glory to God" with "Joy to the World." Both members of the Shickshinny Area Community Choir and the Chancel Choir of the First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick participated in the service. Pastor Roger Noss and Abaigael Noss offered a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night." The choir also led Christmas carols at Shickshinny's "Christmas in the Park" earlier in December.
The choir's sixteenth annual Community Choirfest performance included an arrangement of an Irish prayer, "Bless the Corners," as well as Philip Silvey's beautiful "Nine Hundred Miles" and a medley of songs from the Broadway musical "The Sound of Music." The men of the choir were featured in two selections: a TTBB arrangement of "O God Our Help in Ages Past" and "Swinging Jazzy Saints." The program also featured several string trios performed by Jonathan Jagozinski on cello, Rachel Schwiter on flute, and Jennifer Updegrove on violin.

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