The Newsletter of the Fairfield County Children's Choir 

Vol.12 No. 1                               Fall 2012

In This Issue
Concerts and Events
Staff News
Accompanist News
Board of Directors News
Chorister Profiles
Golden Gate Festival
Calendar of Events

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 From The Music Director 

Jon Noyes conducting FCCC


Greetings! The 18th Season of the FCCC is off to a wonderful start. Our talented group of choristers is working with our dedicated staff to make great music together! This issue of Quarternotes includes information about our concert calendar, news of our staff and Board of Directors, a summary of our experience at the Golden Gate Choral Festival in July, and the always-popular Chorister Profiles.


I would like to mention two recent education-related stories which have received a fair degree of media attention. In his newly published book, "How Children Succeed - Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character," Paul Tough suggests that skills such as persistence and focused attention are the keys to a child's future success. Because high level music making involves serious effort and rigor, our choristers must possess and develop discipline, character and a strong work ethic. This concept connects directly with the FCCC Mission Statement, which includes these words:    


            The mission of the FCCC is to provide children the opportunity to participate in a musical experience which is challenging, rewarding and enjoyable.


The second story, an article entitled "Brain Waves Stay Tuned to Early Lessons," was published in the Science section of the September 11, 2012 New York Times. The author cites numerous studies which suggest that musical training can strengthen auditory skills which have many positive, life-long implications.


The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses - their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested..... There's a fascination - and even a certain heady delight-in learning what the brain can do, and in drawing out the many effects of the combination of stimulation, application, practice and auditory exercise that musical education provides.


(Here is a direct link to the complete article.) Early Music Lessons 


The myriad writings, studies, etc. that support the philosophical mission of music in education fall into two basic categories, known as instrumentalist and essentialist. The instrumentalist position includes subjects such as those cited above and how their effects may "transfer" to other learning. The essentialist position holds that music should be included in the education of all children because music is a deep and valuable way of knowing and understanding the world - music for its own sake! I was pleased that this article, after making some very important instrumentalist points, ends with the essentialist point of view:


"We want music to be recognized for what it can be in a person's life, not necessarily, 'Oh, we want you to have better cognitive skills, so we're going to put you in music.' Music is great, music is fantastic, music is social - let them enjoy it for what it really is."


Another part of our Mission Statement includes the following: The act of making music has intrinsic value in and of itself. Music is an art form which has existed as an integral part of every culture throughout history. When we sing we experience forms of beauty and joy which words cannot express. Music making can be a powerful source of meaning in our lives, a door to "the inward places of the soul."


On behalf of the FCCC staff, we are looking forward to a season of much beauty and joy!


FCCC Concerts and Events


FCCC Annual Winter Concert

Angels Sing
Sunday, December 2, 2012  3 pm

Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport, CT 

Three hundred angelic voices will take the stage for our winter concert, "Angels Sing," featuring a variety of holiday classics, both sacred and secular. The program will include Angels' Carol, Angels We Have Heard on High, Gesu Bambino, and 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime. Among other highlights will be Tottoyo, a new piece by Venezuelan composer Christian Grases, as well as Masters in This Hall, For the Beauty of the Earth, the transcendant Ave Maria by Franz Beibl, and many others. A great way to lift your spirits in the dark of winter! Come hear the angels sing!


FCCC Annual Broadway Concert
Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat!
Saturday, February 2, 2013    7 pm
Auction at 5:30

Norwalk Concert Hall, Norwalk, CT   


Just try to control your "jazz hands" once the FCCC raises the curtain on this year's selection of Broadway show-stoppers! We are pleased to offer favorites from a number of hit musicals, including Guys and Dolls, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Little Mermaid, and The Wizard of Oz. In addition to the rousing choruses, we'll be shining the spotlight on many of our fine soloists! The fantastic FCCC orchestra will join us on stage and add its own pizzazz! Come tap your toes and hum along with these appealing Broadway hits. Sorry, no dancing in the aisles permitted!



FCCC Annual Spring Concert

The Miracle of Singing

with Special Guest Nick Page
Saturday, May 11, 2013   7 pm
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts,

Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT    


Our special guest for this concert, Nick Page, is a gifted song leader and a collector of folk tunes from around the world. A composer and author and long-time friend of FCCC, Nick is dedicated to teaching people of all ages that they are capable of great miracles through the simple yet powerful act of singing. Nick's boundless enthusiasm and ability to awaken song will touch your heart and have you laughing out loud! We are delighted to be presenting this program in Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts.


In addition to these outstanding programs, we will perform with three different symphony orchestras this year: the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and the Norwalk Youth Symphony. With the NHSO we will perform Carl Orff's Carmina Burana; with the GBS we will join them for their "Holiday Pops" program; and with the NYS we will perform Beethoven's Choral Fantasy with the pianist Gilbert Kalish at Tanglewood.


We have recently been invited to participate in a festival choir under Francisco Nunez at Carnegie Hall in January. This will be our fifth time performing in the most famous concert hall in America! We will perform on a "national stage" as a featured choir when the Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE) holds its annual conference in Hartford in March. OAKE is a professional organization of music teachers which is known for the highest standards of choral music.


We will again perform for the Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony, one of the most important events we have each year.We start the season with two fun events: the National Anthem at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Opening Game and Pipescreams, a Halloween program sponsored by the American Guild of Organists. Finally, we will conclude our season with our second visit to a music festival in Hawaii! 

FCCC Staff News


On November 3rd, Ms. Holberg, and the combined choirs of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church of Darien, will be participating in a performance of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York City! This massive work for orchestra and choir will be conducted by Charles Dodsley Walker, the founder and conductor of The Canterbury Choral Society of New York. Mr. Walker serves as Artist-in-Residence at Saint Luke's Church where Ms. Holberg serves as Director of the Primary and Junior Choirs and Soprano Section Leader. She is thrilled the Junior Choir will experience singing in the Knabenchor, or "children's choir," alongside two SATB choirs, eight soloists and full orchestra.

On a personal note, Ms. Holberg is thrilled to announce that she and her husband, Marcin, are expecting their first child in February! After the baby arrives, her intent is to return to weekly FCCC rehearsals as soon as she is able. She would like to thank you in advance for your support in the coming months as she embraces the awesome adventure of motherhood!


Alicen Masi, the FCCC Assistant Choir Manager, recently shared her big news with the choristers and staff - she will be married to Matthew Gachi on Saturday, October 27. A small group of FCCC choristers will sing for their celebration! Congratulations, Alicen & Matthew!!!

FCCC Accompanist News

Todd Simmons, FCCC accompanist, has accepted a new position in Princeton, New Jersey. Todd has provided the choir with an outstanding musical foundation and has been a crucial part of the organization in many ways. We thank him for everything he has done for the FCCC over the past 10 years and wish him well in his new endeavors.


We are pleased to announce that Heather Hamilton will be joining us as our new accompanist. We know that Heather, Lisa Bettke and all the others who accompany the choir will continue to provide us with continued excellence! Welcome Heather!!!


Heather Hamilton I am so excited to be joining such a gifted team of leaders and talented singers! The FCCC is known to be the best training in the area, if not the State, for young voices. I am privileged to be working with my mentor, Mr. Noyes, who guided me when I was an education student by allowing me into his classroom to observe and learn. To this day I still use the training I received from his lessons and am a certified Pre K-12 Music Teacher in the State of CT.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a Fairfield, CT native, went to public schools and graduated from Ludlowe. I was the choir president while at RLHS (yes, back in the old days) and we traveled to Montreal, Canada to compete. This was an eye-opening experience and many of my friends from that trip are still acquaintances today who all still sing in choirs! I attended the Mannes College of Music in NYC where I was the accompanist for the chorus under the direction of Amy Kaiser. During my undergraduate years, I became a music director and organist at Fairfield Grace UMC, right around the corner from FWMS! Currently I am serving as Director of Music and Organist at Saugatuck Congregational Church, UCC in Westport, CT. I have studied choral conducting with Dennis Keene and have performed in master classes under John Alexander, Robert Page and others. I received two masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (solo piano performance and orchestral piano performance) then went on to earn my Doctorate in Educational Leadership, EdD, from the University of Bridgeport.

In addition to my choral work I teach piano in my home studio and am an avid tennis player. I believe that sports and music go hand-in-hand. I am a Partner at Ash Creek Fitness, Black Rock, CT where I train in Kettlebells, TRX, and Z-Health.   I live in Fairfield and have a cat named Hemingway and a turtle named, Myrtle.

FCCC Board of Directors News


The FCCC is very pleased to welcome three new members to our Board. We greatly appreciate their willingness to offer their time and talents to our organization.


Marina Philips is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, CT. She has been a full-time member of HCC's faculty since 2000. Prior to joining HCC, she held adjunct positions at Fairfield University and Bridgeport University. Mrs. Philips received her M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and her B.Sc. from Bangalore University in India. She has lived in Fairfield since 1993, and has two children, George and Rachel, both of whom attended public schools in Fairfield and were FCCC choristers between 1997 and 2011. She has been a chaperone on a number of FCCC trips, and is looking forward to getting more involved with the FCCC. She hopes that many more children can enjoy the gift of music that her children were privileged to receive.


Dolores Boudreau Abbott is an enthusiastic advocate of choral singing, and she sings with the Connecticut Chamber Choir. Her daughters - Jane, 26, and Lucy, 22 - were members of the FCCC from 1998-2006. Underscoring their appreciation of that experience and the FCCC mission in general, the Abbotts have maintained connection with the group. A life-long area resident, Dolores is a graduate of Fairfield University and pursued a career in scholarly publishing for many years as an editor and marketing copywriter. Today she works with her husband, children's author Tony Abbott.


Bernadette Thottam is a past FCCC choir parent. She had two boys who were in the FCCC. She is still active as a volunteer, particularly with the annual silent auction. Bernadette is a school psychologist in the Bridgeport Schools, heads the Ladies Guild at St. Thomas and has been a volunteer and member of the Music Parents Association for the Fairfield High Schools for many years. She is a liaison for FCCC in the Bridgeport schools for our Bridges through Music program and helps run the auditions in those schools.

FCCC Chorister Profiles 

In this issue of Quarternotes we feature two members of our outstanding senior class. Their feelings for and dedication to the choir come shining through in their profiles below. Enjoy!

  Erin Albert  

Name: Erin Albert
Age: 16

School: Fairfield Warde HS
Town: Fairfield  

Favorite FCCC Song:  I'm Goin' Up a Yonder   


In Your Own Words:  


Every Wednesday night for the past 9 years, I have looked forward to rehearsal, not only the singing, but seeing the smiling faces of the friends I've made.  Singing with people who love and appreciate music as much as I do has been a blast.  I've had some awesome experiences - singing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center are two of my favorite memories.  How many 10 year olds have had the chance to sing at Carnegie Hall?  My favorite memory of all time was when we performed a concert with Nick Page.  His passion and enthusiasm for music made me realize how much being part of a choir means to me. FCCC has helped me broaden my musical taste.  Jazz and Gospel used to scare me but now I love to sing it!  Thank you FCCC for these supercalifragilisticexpialidocious years!!!

Rajane Brown  

Name: Rajane Brown

Age: 17
School: Lauralton Hall
Town: Bridgeport
Favorite FCCC Song: Bridge Over Troubled Wate 

In Your Own Words:  

 FCCC has tremendously impacted my life these past 5 years. The friends I've made, the techniques I've grasped, and the places I have been made me into the singer I am today. The day will soon come when you will see my face on the television screen and I will never cease to recognize my foundation. Mr. Noyes and the entire FCCC family: I love you and thank you so much for all you have imparted into my life!



Golden Gate International Choral Festival 

The FCCC Chamber Singers traveled to California from July 7 - 15 to participate in the Golden Gate International Choral Festival. Nineteen choirs (and 600 choristers) from all over the world were in attendance, including those from Australia, China, Indonesia, Republic of Georgia, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Lithuania, Canada, Honduras and the USA. The distinguished panel of guest conductors and judges hailed from Venezuela, Australia, Hungary and China.


While this was the first actual competition in which the choir has sung, the FCCC choristers were at their best and received the Outstanding Performance Award! The jury requested that we give a "command performance" of Bridge Over Troubled Water on the final concert in Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.


There were three categories in which we competed: Contemporary, Folk and Historical. In each category, choirs could receive a gold, silver, bronze or no rating. In addition, 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were also awarded. The FCCC Chamber Singers received gold ratings and 3rd place awards in both the contemporary and folk categories. We received a silver rating in the historical category.


FCCC vocal solo contestants who were recognized for excellence were Catherine Clair, Sarah Hindenach, Morgan Morse and Katherine Waugh. Congratulations to them! Thanks and congratulations to Mr. Cotellese for accompanying all of our performances!


We also enjoyed touring in the San Francisco Bay area, especially such sites as Alcatraz, Muir Woods and the cable cars. Below is a link to a photo collage put together by Emily Chizmadia. It is a treasure and a work of art! Many thanks to Emily for taking the time to share her photos with us. Other videos can be found on YouTube at FCCChoir.  To view Emily's video, click on: California Trip 

FCCC Concert Calendar
(CS-Chamber Singers; CC-Concert Choir; CH-Chorale; Ch-Chorus)



Oct 13

Sound Tigers - Webster Bank Arena - 7:00 pm 

Oct 21

Pipescreams Halloween Program - 4:00 pm -UCC Bridgeport (CS)

Nov 29

NHSO-Carmina Burana - Woolsey Hall, NH 7:30 pm(CS)

Dec 1

NHSO - Carmina Burana-Norwalk Concert Hall 7:30 -(CS)

Dec 2

FCCC Winter Concert - 3 pm - Klein (all FCCC)

Dec 8

Greater Bridgeport Symphony - 8:00 pm Klein (CS)

Dec 9

Concert w/Cantor Greene -3 pm-Rodeph Sholom, Bpt (Ch)



Jan 20

Carnegie Hall - 8:00 pm (CS)

Feb 2

FCCC Broadway Concert & Auction - 7pm (all FCCC)

Mar 23

OAKE National Conference (CS)

April TBD

Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration -7 pm-UCC Ffld (CS)

May 11

FCCC Spring Concert with Nick Page, 7 pm (all FCCC)

June 2

Tanglewood w/Norwalk Youth Symphony (CS)

July 14-21

Aloha Children's Choir Festival - Hawaii (CS)

For information on all of our events, please visit