12/12 & 12/19 – JHS 97th A Cappella Vespers

JHS Madrigal Singers after their holiday performance for the Norden Women's Club at Moonbrook Country Club.

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Jamestown Public Schools

The Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir will hold its 97th Annual A Cappella Vespers next Sunday, December 12th and December 19th at 4 p.m. in the First Lutheran Church. There is no admission and a free-will offering will be taken. Due to the on-going pandemic, all performers and audience members must be masked at all times throughout the duration of the performance. Social distancing will be enforced for audience members and seating is first come, first served. There will be a livestream of the performance at www.jpsny.org/acappella beginning at 4 p.m. on December 12th and 19th.

“This year is especially exciting as it is our first year back together singing our traditional Vespers performance since 2019,” said JHS A Cappella Director Lauren Scharf. ”Last year we were unable to perform in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year we are back, with some restrictions, but are able to have the community supporting and engaging with us, which will make this year extra special. We hope that many people will come out and support the choir. These students have worked against the odds for over a year and half and are very deserving of an audience.”

The 72-voice JHS A Cappella Choir features smaller ensembles, including the Madrigal Singers, Men of Tomorrow and Ladies of Today. Julie Livengood will provide piano accompaniment and Brian Bogey, A Cappella director from 1982-2003, will provide accompaniment on organ. The Madrigal Singers will also perform out in the local community.

The Vespers are a community tradition established in 1924 by Miss Ebba Goranson, founder of the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir. Each December, the JHS A Cappella performs two sacred music concerts at First Lutheran Church, featuring excerpts from major choral works and seasonal songs and carols as a way to provide a bit of cheer for this time of year. The Annual Vespers tradition continues under the direction of Lauren Scharf, Julie Livengood as accompanist and Director Emeritus Brian Bogey as organist.

Choral music education has enjoyed a long, rich tradition at Jamestown High School. Ebba H. Goranson, who directed the choir from 1924 until her passing in 1957, founded the A Cappella Choir. Donald B. Bubé served as choral director from 1958-1981. Brian A. Bogey moved into the director’s position in 1982 from the highly successful Jefferson Jr. High choral program. Since his retirement in 2003, Brian continues to serve our community as conductor, educator, musician, and advocate for vocal education. Brian continues to support the efforts of the A Cappella through friendship, counsel, and as organist. Norman Lydell served as the director from 2004-2019 and continues to provide counsel to and support to the choir in many ways. It is with deep appreciation, admiration and affection that we continue the life work of our founder and directors.

The A Cappella Choir is known as the “Choir of Cathedrals.” Performances include the National Shrine Basilica in Washington, D.C; New York City’s famed Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church; St. Michael’s R.C. Cathedral in Toronto, Canada; St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, (home of the Vienna Boys Choir); the Basilica in Innsbrook; the Cathedral in Salzburg; England’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral & Salisbury Cathedral; Saint Anne de Beaupre and Notre Dame Basilica in Quebec City, Canada; New York City’s Saint John the Divine Cathedral, the famous Park Avenue United Methodist Church and the historic Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church; Boston’s Old North Church; Washington D.C.’s National Presbyterian Church; Chicago’s Queen of All Saints Basilica and Fourth Presbyterian Church; the Baltimore Basilica and the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church . The choir has participated in master classes at Harvard University, North Park University, and the University of Maryland. The choir has performed at professional sporting events and historical sites, including the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, the Holocaust Museum, the Kennedy Center, Arlington National Cemetery, and Fort McHenry, (birthplace of our national anthem). In December of 2009, the Madrigal Singers performed with recording artist Kenny Rogers. In February 2014, the A Cappella Choir performed at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In December of 2015, the A Cappella performed with acclaimed performing artist Jim Brickman. In the spring of 2016, the A Cappella toured Washington, D.C., in 2018 the choir toured Baltimore, Maryland. Most recently the A Cappella performed in the Candlelight Processional at Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida in December of 2019 .