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Rick Travers
Music Director

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Richard Travers earned a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the Boston Conservatory as a student of Allen Lannom and a degree in Music Education from Berklee College of Music.

A recently-retired music educator in the Newton Public Schools, Mr. Travers directed four choirs at Newton North High School: Vocal Ensemble, Concert Choir, Family Singers and Jubilee Singers. (read more...)

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Monique Weiss Byrnes began playing organ in churches at the age of 11! She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied organ with Haskell Thompson while earning a Master's degree in Teaching with a Choral Emphasis, after earning her Bachelor's degree in Organ Performance. (read more...)

Monique Weiss Byrnes

Who We Are

Our Mission We, the Newton Community Chorus, are a warm and welcoming group of singers who are as ardent about improving our musical ability as we are about having fun doing it. We create an atmosphere of conviviality and acceptance that allows several generations of music lovers, with various levels of experience, to share the challenge of learning and performing classical choral works. Our dedicated members aim for high quality in our live performances. It is the capacity of this music to connect us to each other as well as to our community’s soul that inspires us to sing, making our joyful noise.


Our History. The Newton Community Chorus was begun in 1981 by Laura Dobrish, a music teacher in the Newton public schools, for parents and teachers of students at the Underwood School in Newton Corner.  After its first performance in May, 1981, consisting mainly of show tunes and folk songs, the Chorus grew rapidly from about two dozen founding members to more than 50 by 1985, attracting singers from all over Newton and surrounding towns. Annual concerts during the early years contained a mixture of art songs, spirituals, folk and popular music, as well as shorter pieces by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Brahms. During its early years the Chorus was affiliated with both the Newton Community Schools evening program and the Fund for the Arts in Newton. In 1987 Beatrice Maier was appointed Director, and the Chorus began to offer both winter and spring concerts annually.

With the arrival of Robert Ingari as Music Director in 1989, the Chorus, while continuing to offer programs of short classical and popular pieces, gradually shifted its focus towards longer, classical choral works, including the Fauré Requiem, the Vivaldi Gloria, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Missa Brevis, the Poulenc Gloria, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, as well as more difficult contemporary works, such as Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Rutter’s Magnificat. In January 1995, the Chorus premiered Ingari’s Dona Nobis Pacem, composed specifically for the group. From 1993 to 1999 Beverly Gibbons Orlove served as accompanist and Assistant Director.

Since Richard Travers became music director in 1998, the Chorus has grown in size and widened the scope of its programs. Usually performing with an orchestra and professional soloists, the Chorus has both returned to familiar works, such as Randall Thompson’s Frostiana and the Fauré Requiem, and has ventured into new territory with performances of Corigliano’s Fern Hill, Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom, Bach’s Magnificat, and the Rutter Requiem. In recent years, the Chorus has undertaken challenging works such as the Requiem and Solemn Vespers of Mozart; a full performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah;, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem; Beethoven’s Mass in C Major; the Duruflé Requiem; Handel’s Messiah; Haydn’s Mass in Time of War; Orff’s Carmina Burana; Puccini’s Messa di Gloria; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater.

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