Old North Festival Chorus
The 43rd annual Old North Festival Chorus Christmas Concerts - presented each year as part of Marblehead’s Christmas Walk—will take place on Saturday, December 2 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 3 at 7:30pm in the sanctuary of the historic Old North Church Meeting House, 35 Washington Street, Marblehead, MA. Highlights of the December 2023 Festival Chorus Concerts—for chorus and full orchestra—include: Magnificat in D and Christus, Part 1, by Felix Mendelssohn; Fantasia on Christmas Carols, by Ralph Vaughan Williams; World of Joy, by Gary Fry; O Little Town of Bethlehem, arranged by Dan Forrest; arrangements of seasonal music for chorus and orchestra with audience participation. Featured soloists include: Holly Cameron, soprano; Gabriela Fagen, mezzo-soprano; Kevin Hayden, tenor; Andrew Scoglio, baritone; and Michael Galvin, bass. The Old North Festival Orchestra, Soloists, and 80-voice Chorus will be led by Maria van Kalken, Minister of Music at Old North Church, who celebrates her 35th season as Director of the Festival Chorus!
Picturesque Marblehead offers the perfect backdrop at holiday time for the popular Festival Chorus concerts. The entire town is transformed into an enchanted village, with shop owners offering hot cider and cheer, plenty of holiday music to delight shoppers, and the not-to-be-missed Festival Chorus concerts.
The Festival Chorus gathers Old North’s Senior Choir together with enthusiastic singers—amateur to professional—from many neighboring communities in Marblehead. Each season, the Festival Chorus welcomes new voices while maintaining a devoted ensemble from previous years; this season’s Chorus totals over eighty participants. Encouraged by a love for music and a reputation as the North Shore’s most spirited and talented volunteer choirs, the Festival Chorus & Orchestra has been lauded for its outstanding performances of major choral works each year.
Director Maria van Kalken holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Oberlin and New England Conservatories of Music—primarily under the tutelage of the late Yuko Hayashi and Donald Teeters—and has amassed an education abroad in Amsterdam (Holland) and Pistoia (Italy).
Tickets for Festival Chorus performances are priced at $35 and may be purchased in advance at the following Marblehead business locations: Arnould Gallery and Crosby’s Marketplace; tickets may also be purchased online by CLICKING HERE. The performances will be approximately 90 minutes, with one 15-munite intermission.
While ticket buyers are encouraged to wear masks at these public performances, masks are not required. Anyone wishing to wear a mask should feel free to do so without judgement.
To reserve tickets in advance by telephone, or for additional information, please call 781-608-2782; tickets may also be reserved online by CLICKING HERE, information is also available on the Old North Festival Chorus website here.
The Old North Festival Chorus is supported, in part, by a grant from the Marblehead Cultural Council as administered through the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Old North Church is accessible for the physically impaired.
Maria van Kalken, Director of Music
Maria van Kalken, Minister of Music at Old North Church and Director of the Festival Chorus, celebrates her thirty-fifth (35th) season in charge of Old North’s flourishing music program. Maria earned the degree of Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Oberlin, Ohio) and Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA). Her studies abroad have included pipe organ performance at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, under the patronage of the Rotary International Scholarship Fund, and the completion of an historical organ performance program in Pistoia, Italy.
In addition to her work as Minister of Music – playing organ and directing the Senior Choir – Maria is Artistic Director of Concerts at Old North, presenting between two and six chamber music concerts annually, in the acoustically-glorious Old North Church in Marblehead.
Maria is a senior staff member of the Boston Early Music Festival (www.bemf.org); as Assistant to the Executive Director, Maria is liaison to musicians from all over the world for the Festival’s biennial Baroque opera project, as well as the annual Chamber Opera Series, the Boston and New York Concert Series (at the Morgan Library & Museum), and opera touring and recording projects.
Liz Smith, Bell Choir Director
Liz Smith of Swampscott, MA has been joyfully ringing handbells since 2008, when she joined her church’s bell choir. She soon began ringing with New England Ringers, one of New England’s finest audition handbell choirs. Liz has loved making music since childhood, when she studied piano and played clarinet, saxophone, and oboe in many school and community music ensembles. She is thrilled to be with the Old North Church Hand Bell Choir. Liz is also a math tutor at Hadley Elementary School in Swampscott. When she is not taking pictures of the sunset or collecting sea glass, Liz spends her free time with her husband, their daughter, and their three grown sons.
Holly Cameron, soprano, is thrilled to sing with the Festival Chorus and Orchestra for her fourteenth season! She has been hailed a “marvelous femme fatale” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) with “rip-roaring high notes” (The Boston Globe). Some of her favorite operatic roles include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Musetta (La bohème), and Abigail (The Crucible), among others. On the concert stage, Ms. Cameron has appeared as a soloist in works such as Carmina Burana, Brahms’ Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Bach’s St. John’s Passion and St. Matthew’s Passion. A recipient of numerous honors, Ms. Cameron was a New England Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has won awards in the Shreveport Opera Competition, Sarasota Artist Series competition and the National Orpheus Vocal Competition, among others.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance from New England Conservatory and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Holly also has a growing reputation for her interpretation of the blues and soul genres and can be regularly heard with the Chris Fitz “Bigger Soul” Band. For more information and other upcoming performances, please visit: www.hollycameronsoprano.com
Mezzo-soprano Gabriela Fagen is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, having received her Master of Music studying under the tutelage of Mary Ann Hart in 2019, and her Bachelor of Music as a student of Costanza Cuccaro in 2017. Ms. Fagen made her debut with Teatro Nuovo in the summer of 2021 as a chorus member and cover for Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Additionally, she was contracted as the cover for Alceo in Il vero omaggio with Teatro Nuovo (cancelled due to COVID-19). Other recent role credits include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Dryade in R. Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Unulfo in Handel’s Rodelinda and Ethel Toffelmeier in The Music Man with Indiana University Opera Theatre; Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Prague Summer Nights Festival; Dame Hannah in Ruddigore with the University Gilbert and Sullivan Society; and Third Spirit in Die Zauberflöte with the Savannah Voice Festival. She is also a recipient of the Joshi International Fellowship, and the Viola Wheeler Arts Award. Ms. Fagen is currently based in Brookline, MA, and is a student of Constance Fee.
Kevin Hayden, tenor, performed with The Old North Church Festival Chorus for thirteen seasons. Mr. Hayden is familiar to audiences in New England and beyond having performed with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Boston Opera Collaborative, Charleston Chamber Opera Company, Cape Cod Opera, Masterworks Chorale, Opera del West, Boston University Opera Institute, Opera by the Bay, The Lynn Concert Singers and Trinity Church among others. Kevin graduated from Boston University with his Master of Music Degree and The University of Oklahoma with his Bachelor of Music Degree. Past operatic roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflote), Alfredo (La traviata), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), and The Doctor (A Month in the Country). Kevin lives in Marblehead with his wife, Jennifer and two children Sully and Lizzy.
Andrew Scoglio, baritone, is the Lead Teacher for the Performing & Applied Arts at Marblehead High School. He directs the High School and Middle School choral music programs consisting of three choirs and three contemporary a cappella groups. He also teaches AP Music Theory, Piano Class, and Theatre Arts. Mr. Scoglio holds a Master’s degree in Music Education from Gordon College and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
An active choral singer and soloist, Mr. Scoglio has performed with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, Fenway Park, and Carnegie Hall. In 2023, Mr. Scoglio conducted the MMEA Eastern Jr. District Honor Choir and was a conducting fellow and singer at the Sarteano Choral Conducting Workshop in Tuscany. Mr. Scoglio also sings in Lyricora, a Boston-based ensemble that is presenting 3 concerts this December. He has studied voice with Andrew Garland, William Hite, and Jennifer Sgroe. He is pleased to serve as the Baritone section leader and soloist at Old North Church.