Community Life

The Brearley Singers

Established in 1993, The Brearley Singers is a premier, inclusive and welcoming non-audition choral group under the innovative leadership of Music Director Keith Burton. Its approximately 85 members – comprising past and present Brearley parents, alumnae, staff members and friends – present a varied program of classical and modern works in two concerts a year. 

No musical experience is required to join – only a willingness to learn, practice and participate in this all-volunteer group. If you have never sung in a group before, or think you don't sing well enough to join one, you will find The Brearley Singers to be a wonderfully supportive environment where you can experience the joy of singing exceptional music. 

Our Next Concert will be held on 
Friday, May 12, 7:30 pm
The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew
263 West 86th St.

Have you ever associated the Latin Mass with bluegrass? Come to the Brearley Singers Spring Concert and find out how that combination sounds – we promise you an unusual and memorable musical experience! The concert will be held on Friday, May 12, at 7:30 pm at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, with Keith Burton as Music Director and Nelson Padgett as pianist.

Mr. Burton has put together a program featuring the Bluegrass Mass of Carol Barnett, a fascinating and beautiful piece honoring the distinctly American Bluegrass musical tradition. Commenting on her composition, Ms. Barnett notes, “To bring the solemnity of the classically-based Mass together with the down-home sparkle of bluegrass – now that’s an assignment.” Her composition uses a combination of the traditional Latin text and contemporary English translations or texts. Interspersed throughout are ballads for soloists or instrumentalists that expand the scope and range of the usual mass. The accompaniment is given to a traditional bluegrass band, using guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin and string bass.

The rest of the program is built around this instrumentation and nature of the ensemble. A bluegrass band functions as a rhythm section in that specific notes are frequently not given; rather, a chord symbol and structure is provided from which the players can fill in the rest. This practice is explored in the rest of the concert program: madrigals, written by Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) and sung in Italian; and Joseph Haydn’s Little Organ Mass, composed in the 1770s, was originally written using the figured bass system in which only bass notes are given along with numbers to let players know what the harmony is intended to be. The program will end with more contemporary selections from many cultural styles that all use an instrumental ensemble functioning as a kind of rhythm section.

[This is an excerpt of an article By Jeffrey Tao which recently appeared in e-News From Brearley ]
!Come sing with us!

For more information or to join, contact

    • Holiday Concert December 2016
The Brearley School
610 East 83rd Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 744-8582
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