About the Chorale

Staff | Awards | History

The Manassas Chorale was founded in 1994, and the original group of about 25 singers has since quadrupled in size to become a 100-voice auditioned organization. The mission of the Chorale is to promote a greater appreciation and enjoyment of quality music, both classical and contemporary, throughout the greater Manassas community. The Chorale is the official choral group in residence at the Hylton Performing Arts Center located on the Prince William campus of George Mason University.

We present four major concerts each season, in October, December, March, and May. Musical styles vary from sacred to secular, from traditional Americana to more culturally and ethnically diverse pieces, from classical masterworks to Broadway showtunes. In addition, we perform at various local venues throughout the year, including many events in Old Town Manassas, local retirement homes and assisted living facilities, and area churches, civic groups, and museums. The Chorale has been asked to perform at groundbreakings and dedications, receptions, and sporting events. We also perform every winter at the historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg. In recent years, the Chorale has sung at the Washington National Cathedral and Constitution Hall in Washington DC, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as touring in Germany and France to sing for American military families and at American World War II cemeteries in Lorraine and Normandy.

At times, the Chorale will combine with other local musical groups such as the Prince William Symphony and the Northern Virginia Manassas Symphony Orchestra. We also regularly incorporate guest instrumentalists and soloists.

Each March, the Chorale coordinates with Manassas Baptist Church in sponsoring Voices United, a combined choir made up of singers from church congregations and community choruses. A guest master clinician holds a day-long workshop, directly followed by a concert featuring the Voices United choir and the Chorale. In recent years, over 150 singers have participated in Voices United. Featured clinicians have included Mark Hayes, Joseph MartinBarbara Wesley Baker, and Greg Gilpin.

Since 2007, the Chorale has partnered with several local charitable organizations for “Concerts with a Cause,” in which singers and audience members are asked to support such efforts as Youth for Tomorrow, Matthew’s Center, SERVE, BARN Transitional Housing, Operation Homefront, the Manassas Senior Center, and the Prince William Hospital Pediatric Ward. Donations of various items, per the organization's requests, are collected at each concert and delivered by the Chorale.

We hope you will have the opportunity to attend one of our concerts or even join us as a member!

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STAFF

DIRECTOR

Rebecca Verner serves as the Artistic Director of the Manassas Chorale. Under her leadership, the Chorale has sung eleven Candlelight Concerts in Williamsburg, performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and in Germany and France as part of "An American Salute" in the summer of 2011. Members of the Chorale Ensemble have sung at the Washington National Cathedral, Constitution Hall, and for many community events. She is also Director of Music at Manassas Baptist Church, where she directs the Sanctuary Choir and Evensong Bells. Past Dean and Auditor of the Northern Virginia chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Ms. Verner is also a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Choristers Guild, and serves on two state committees for her denomination. In 2007, she was named Woman of the Year by the Manassas Parade Committee, and in 2014 she was selected as Alumnus of the Year by the OHS/OPHS Alumni Association. She and her husband Dan have two grown daughters, Amy and Alyssa, and two sons-in-law named Chris.

ACCOMPANIST

Jonathan (Jon) Laird, Accompanist, first joined the Chorale as accompanist during the 2007-2008 season. He has been the director of music at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge, VA since 2010. A native of Fairfax County, he has been active as a professional pianist, percussionist, and organist in the Washington metropolitan area for 15 years. He is a regular accompanist for renowned Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns, and recently performed with Russian domra virtuoso Peter Omeltchenko. Jon holds the degree of Master of Music in Sacred Music, emphasis organ, from The Catholic University of America (2010). He lives in Woodbridge with his wife Christine and daughter Cecilia.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President
Mark Cooke
703-335-1013
markgcooke@yahoo.com

Vice President
Mimi Menzies
703-330-6966
themimim@verizon.net

Secretary
Denise Almazar
703-331-5735
deniea@aol.com

Treasurer
Greg Aleman
703-367-5667
gaaleman@comcast.net

Director
Becky Verner
703-368-0883
bverner@manassasbaptist.org

Accompanist
Jon Laird
703-494-4008
jon.p.laird@gmail.com

 

Chorale At-Large Members

Brian Foy
703-330-3876
728bfoy@gmail.com

Rich Improta
703-791-2519
rimprota@comcast.net

Win Lightner
703-257-7844
wllightner@verizon.net

Charlie Mills
703-753-5132
cmills4687@aol.com

 

Community At-Large Members

Patrick Almazar
703-331-5735
alm01@aol.com

Cindy Laird
703-577-0245
lovingartist28@yahoo.com

Maggie Smith
703-474-3471
kitwmags@hotmail.com

Russell Tuck
mgtrrt@gmail.com

 

Please consider serving as a member of the Board of Directors! The new Board is elected each May for the following Chorale season. Board meetings take place monthly or as needed, usually on Saturday mornings or an evening that is convenient for Board members. Meetings are open to the Chorale membership, but if members wish to raise a topic for discussion, they must ask the President for a place on the agenda prior to the meeting. Feel free to contact any Board member with your questions, concerns, or suggestions.

 

CHORALE STAFF

Director of Operations: Carole Keily

Concert Manager: Cathy Carolla

 

COMMITTEE CHAIRS

Chamber Representative: Judy Smith

Concert Attire: Marie Egeland

Fundraising: Mark Cooke

Grants: Rich Improta

Hospitality: OPEN

Music Library: Daisy Reynolds

Patron Development: Mark Cooke

Website: Jennifer Blanchard

Chorale members are encouraged to serve on or chair a committee to benefit the Chorale as a volunteer organization. Please see the Chorale President or a committee chairperson to volunteer at any time during the Chorale season.

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AWARDS

Kathleen K. Seefeldt Award of Excellence - Arts Organization of the Year, 2011

Kathleen K. Seefeldt Award of Excellence - Arts Organization of the Year, 2005

Prince William County Manassas Chamber of Commerce - Non-Profit Arts and Entertainment Member of the Year, 2004-2005

Prince William Readers Choice Award – Best Performing Arts Group, 2004

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HISTORY

 

November 1994 The Manassas Community Chorale, a group of about 25 singers, forms under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. John (Jack) Martin, accompanied by Jill Tomlinson.
August 1997 Rebecca Verner becomes Artistic Director of the Chorale.
March 1998 The Chorale joins members of the Reston Community Chorale, local church choirs, and the Prince William Symphony Orchestra in presenting Haydn’s “Creation” on the 200th anniversary of the oratorio and the 25th anniversary of the Orchestra.
Fall 1998 The Chorale Ensemble, a smaller group of auditioned singers, is formed.
Spring 1999 The first Voices United concert is held.
December 2002 The Chorale is invited to perform a candlelight concert at the historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg.
May 2004 The Chorale celebrates its tenth anniversary in concert.
August 2005 The Chorale becomes a fully auditioned group.
August 2005 Diann Clark joins the Chorale as accompanist.
May 2006 The Chorale performs Brahms’ “Requiem” with the NOVA Manassas Symphony Orchestra, the first time the entire Requiem has been presented in the Manassas area.
June 2006 The Chorale sings at the groundbreaking for the Hylton Performing Arts Center at the George Mason University Manassas campus.
June 2006 Chorale President Diana Van Broekhoven receives the Seefeldt Award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.
Fall 2006 The Chorale Board of Directors begins designing a strategic five-year plan for the future.
July 2007 The Chorale Ensemble sings at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. for the Prelude to Evensong.
August 2007 Jon Laird joins the Chorale as accompanist.
December 2007 The Chorale performs at the Marine Museum in Quantico, VA.
June 2008 The Chorale kicks off the City of Manassas Summer Sounds Concert Series with music from the 1930s and 1940s.
June 2009 Members of the Chorale perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of Shawnee Press' 70th anniversary celebration.
August 2009 The Chorale changes its name to the Manassas Chorale.
August 2010 The Chorale becomes the official choral group in residence at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
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