assistant - Wed, Sep 16, 2009, 1:52 P
Moriah Chamber Choir Reaches Out to the World A concert to benefit the students of the Mathieson Music School of Calcutta, India
Moriah Chamber Choir Reaches Out to the World
A concert to benefit the students of the Mathieson Music School of Calcutta, India

What: Moriah Reaches Out to the World: A concert to benefit the Mathieson Music School
Where: Church of the Atonement, 36 Broad Street, Westfield, MA
When: Sunday, September 27, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
Admission: Free. Suggested donation to the Mathieson School: $5 per person

WESTFIELD, MA, September 15, 2009 - Westfield, MA and Calcutta, India will connect through music in a fundraising concert presented by the Moriah Chamber Choir, a division of the Young Singers of Greater Westfield. The concert is being organized to raise funds for the Mathieson Music School, a school for some of the poorest children of Calcutta, India, which was damaged heavily by a hurricane this past spring. The performance will take place at the Church of the Atonement, 36 Broad Street, Westfield, MA on Sunday, September 27 at 4:00 pm. The choir will sing music based on Indian ragas, as well as Celtic tunes, gospel favorites, Broadway hits, folk, classical, and contemporary music in an afternoon of truly international music making. Donations for the Mathieson School will be collected; admission to the concert is free.

Three years ago, the Young Singers of Greater Westfield (YSGW) began a cultural enrichment and exchange program with the Mathieson Music School (MMS). YSGW and MMS each include about 60 students ranging in age from seven to seventeen, and both have made music an important educational focus. Through this collaboration, students in the two organizations have been establishing a musical partnership and an ongoing friendship, allowing children from India and the U.S. to make a personal and meaningful connection with young people from another country. They are learning about each other's culture and music, and, by exchanging drawings, letters, and workings, they can make music "together" even though they are separated geographically.

The Mathieson Music School was founded by cellist Anup Kumar Biswas in memory of Father Theodore Mathieson, an Anglican priest who died in 1994. Father Mathieson had been involved with the running of an orphanage in Calcutta for over 50 years and had established a unique musical tradition where children were taught both Western and Indian classical music. Many of his students went on to enjoy successful musical careers, the most distinguished being Biswas himself, whose unique talent Father Mathieson spotted when the boy was still in the care of the orphanage. Towards the end of his life, Father Mathieson became very concerned that after his death the musical aspect of the children's lives would also die. He and Biswas conceived the idea of founding a special music school in Calcutta to continue the tradition and good works the priest had established. In February 1994 the dream of providing ongoing education and musical opportunities for the poorest children in Calcutta was realized when the Mathieson Music School was launched.
The children at the MMS are selected on a basis of need, either because they are orphans or come from destitute, illiterate and often emotionally disturbed backgrounds. Musical training not only furnishes the children with a way of expressing themselves, it also offers them the means of securing life-long employment. The flourishing Indian film industry, military establishments, hotel and entertainment sectors are all crying out for Indians literate in both classical Indian and Western music, and trained musicians have an earning potential two to three times that of the average Indian school graduate. The majority of former Mathieson students have obtained work solely because of the academic and musical skills they acquired at the school.

The Moriah Chamber Choir is the teenage division of Young Singers of Greater Westfield, an auditioned chorus of nearly 65 young singers ranging in age from nine to seventeen. The chamber choir includes eight to twelve accomplished young women who perform regularly with the other YSGW divisions and who give special concerts to raise funds for charitable causes. The group is directed by Janet St. Jean, a seasoned music educator, conductor and accompanist who is also the Director of Choral Music at Westfield Middle School North.

Moriah will be accompanied by pianist and guitarist Clifton J. (Jerry) Noble, Jr.

The performance is free and open to the public. Donations to the Mathieson School will be collected. For more information, email or call (413) 536-5156.

Sep 18, 2021