NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 13, 2012

A heaping of holiday music

New England Tenors concert will raise funds for local charity

By Katie Lovett
Features Editor

---- — Janet Kolman has seen The New England Tenors perform twice — and each time, the trio has left an impression.

“They’re fantastic,” Kolman said. “They’re very, very talented and very professional. I was just so impressed with them.”

So, when the Newburyport resident who attends Immaculate Conception Church was thinking of fundraiser ideas for the church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul, she immediately thought of the group. The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an organization that offers aid to local families, regardless of religious affiliation, who are in need due to difficult financial circumstances.

The Newburyport church’s chapter supports residents in Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. It also works with the organization’s Amesbury chapter to help fund larger requests. Typically, the society will supply food cards, gas cards or household supplies, or help make rent or utility payments, Kolman said.

“This goes on all year,” she said. The group can sometimes receive 20 requests for help a month, or sometimes it gets five calls a day, as other agencies refer cases to them or people learn of the group through word of mouth or notices in the church bulletin.

When the economic downturn hit, Kolman said, as with other social service agencies and charities, St. Vincent de Paul saw their number of cases rise.

“We have people asking for help that never asked before,” she said. “We’re just grateful that we’re here.”

To help them be able to continue their work, the society will hold several fundraisers a year, including on Sunday when the society hosts the New England Tenors as they perform a holiday concert.

Typically, the three singers — Amesbury’s Damien Corcoran, North Andover’s John Middleton-Cox and Jeffrey Hartman, an Indiana native who now lives in Natick — perform a range of music, including Irish and Italian tunes, patriotic songs and sacred and religious selections. On Sunday, however, the program will feature a mix of seasonal favorites.

As is often the case with The New England Tenor concerts, whose audiences tend to be music fans who recall the famous Three Tenors or The Irish Tenors, younger audience members who accompany their families to Sunday’s show will also hear some familiar tunes.

The tenors plan to sing beloved Christmas carols such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and O Come, O Come Emmanuel” as well as some more modern holiday songs, like “Mele Kalikimaka” and “Feliz Navidad.”

All three tenors are classically trained singers. The group tends to perform about four programs a year, including a summer concert and a love-themed show around Valentine’s Day.

“We try to do make sure that we do the popular songs that people love,” said Middleton-Cox, the head of the music department for the Burlington Public Schools. On Sunday, he added, the group will perform one of their most requested songs, “Ave Maria.”

“What we really do well, is each of has our own unique style of singing,” he added, “but at the same time, when we all sing together, we blend very well — that’s when it gets exciting.”

For Kolman, the draw of the tenors’ music is the nostalgic feeling it stirs; being able to attend such a concert and hear all of the traditonal, classic carols makes listeners feel right back at home, she said.

“It’s like when for my generation, hearing Bing Crosby immediately brings you back to Christmas Day,” she said. “The traditional versions of the carols bring the generations together. No matter what age you are, I think you’ll enjoy the program.”

IF YOU GO

What: New England Tenors holiday concert

When: Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.

Where: Immaculate Conception Church, 42 Green St., Newburyport

How: $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and younger. To purchase, contact Jan Kolman at 978-462-3339 or jmknana@verizon.net.