Get to know The Messiah Community Chorus
The annual Handel's Messiah Concert has been presented by the Messiah Community Chorus each December for 50 years. It has become a holiday tradition within the town attracting an audience of over 250 people from Southborough and surrounding towns. The chorus of approximately 40-50 is made up of volunteer vocalists from all over the greater Metrowest area. Other performers include a 20-piece orchestra and 4 soloists. The conductor this year will be Dr. Robert Eaton, the Artistic Director of the Assabet Vally Mastersingers. The concert is performed in the Pilgrim Congregational Church sanctuary followed by a reception in the Pilgrim Congregational Church Fellowship Hall.
This year's director - Dr. Robert Eaton
Dr. Robert P. Eaton is founder and director of the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, a 70 voice regional chorus, and the eighteen voice Assabet Valley Chambersingers. Dr. Eaton has a long career in church music and recently retired after 15 years as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Lexington, MA. He has served as President for Eastern Division American Choral Directors Association as well as at the State and Division level in many capacities.
Dr. Eaton was Choral Director at Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, MA for many years. Dr. Eaton’s choruses won numerous awards at festivals and competitions, including gold medals for Jazz Choir, Camerata Choir, Chamber Choir, and Concert Choir. Dr. Eaton’s students have been selected for National and Regional Honors Choirs and were always well represented in District and All State Choruses. In 1994 he was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award at Algonquin for his work in developing Humanities courses.
In addition Dr. Eaton has been an organist/choir director for most of his career, active in the American Choral Directors Association, the American Guild of Organists, Music Educators National Conference, and Central District Massachusetts Music Educators Association. He has served as adjudicator and manager of All-State and District choruses and clinician/adjudicator for Festivals of Music. He received a Master of Music Education degree from Hartt School of Music with Dr. Gerald Mack and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting with Dr. James Jordan, also from Hartt. His DMA Dissertation was on Duruflé’s Requiem. Dr. Eaton has also studied conducting with Allen Lannom, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Sir David Willcocks.
Allen Langord - The man that started it all
Allen Langord: February 7, 1935 - March 19, 2015
Over 50 years ago Allen first brought Handel’s Messiah to Pilgrim Church. As organist and choir director, he wanted to offer the community an opportunity to experience the splendor of Handel’s Messiah with full orchestra, choir and soloists there in the church’s sanctuary. He felt strongly that the experience was about making and enjoying glorious music together. Each year he would regale the audience before the first stroke of the concertmaster’s bow with a story, a joke or even a little tidbit of musical history to pique the listeners’ attention and beckon them to sit back and enjoy the captivating musical narrative of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Allen’s family are elated that his vision has continued to this day and it is their sincere hope that The Messiah Community Chorus is able to continue this time-honored and beloved church tradition for many years to come.
The Erika Sisson Memorial Messiah Fund
Erika Sisson: April 13, 1935 - December 5, 2002 | Arthur Sisson: February 5, 1934 - March 6, 2007
Arthur and Erika Sisson were members of the Pilgrim Congregational Church choir in Southborough and sang in the very first concert under the direction of Allen Langord. They both noted that singing in the Messiah concert was the highlight of their singing careers. Upon Erika's passing in 2002, Arthur and his family established the Erika Sisson Memorial Messiah Fund. This fund has remained in place for over 20 years and acts as a safety net should fundraising for the concert event fall shy of what is required to put on the concert properly.
The Debbie Wilson Fund
Debbie Wilson: July 20, 1949 - February 16, 2021
Debbie was a long-time member of the Pilgrim Congregational Church choir in Southborough and sang alto in the annual Messiah Concert for many years. She was always a joy to watch singing, smiling all the while. Upon Debbie's
passing her husband David and children Sloan and Courtney, made a very generous contribution that will sponsor the hired Mezzo Soprano soloist for this annual event for many years to come.