JAMESTOWN – Even though COVID-19 restrictions have prevented Jamestown High School’s A Cappella Choir and Madrigal Singers from performing their seasonal concert schedule this year, Jamestown Public School officials say new director Lauren Scharf, is determined to find a way to celebrate the season with hopes that by next year, the annual Vespers can continue.
“It is a great disappointment that the A Cappella Choir will be unable to perform their annual Vespers services this December at First Lutheran Church, however, myself and the students felt very strongly that the A Cappella Vespers is especially needed this year, so we came up with some new ways to spread joy to our local community,” said Ms. Scharf.
The A Cappella Choir will be releasing a recorded performance of some of their Vespers songs, including the traditional processional Kyrie Eleison, which will be available at www.jpsny.org and on JPS’ Facebook (@JamestownPublicSchools) and Twitter (@JamestownSchool) beginning on December 21st.
Scharf, along with former directors Norman Lydell and Brian Bogey, will also host two radio programs with Dennis Webster on Media One that will highlight music compiled from past A Cappella Vespers. The shows will give insight into the history of Vespers, and have the directors tell stories about the beloved, annual tradition. The shows will air on Sunday, December 13th and Sunday, December 20th at 4 p.m. on WJTN AM 1240.
“We are so thankful to Media One for airing these shows featuring the music of the A Cappella Vespers,” said Ms. Scharf. “Dennis Webster is such an avid supporter of all JPS music programs and we are so appreciative of Media One’s willingness to share A Cappella Vespers’ story with the community in this challenging year.”
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 96 years ago. Donald B. Bubé served as choral director from 1958-1981. Brian A. Bogey moved into the director’s position in 1982. In 2003, Norman Lydell took the reins as director until his retirement in 2020.
Each December, the 80-voice JHS A Cappella performs Vespers, two sacred music concerts at First Lutheran Church, featuring excerpts from major choral works and seasonal songs and carols for their community. JHS A Cappella Choir features smaller ensembles, including the Madrigal Singers, Men of Tomorrow and Ladies of Today. The A Cappella Choir has performed nationally, internationally, and throughout our local area. Other annual performances include school assembly programs, run-out concerts, as well as the Spring Chorus Concert in May.
“As I look at an album from the 1963 A Cappella Choir that is displayed in my office, I am regularly reminded of the depth of history that this program has, as well as its connection to the community and these particular performances,” said JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker. “I have faith in the resilience of this community and in this remarkable group to overcome this COVID-related setback and continue confidently into the future making beautiful music for our community.”