Saengerfest choir offers Boyz to Men spring concert

Spring is the season of rebirth, and so it is fitting that the Boston Saengerfest Men’s Chorus shares the stage with more youthful counterparts during the annual “Boyz to Men’’ concert, taking place Sunday in Wellesley.

Saengerfest, a choir of about 75 men from Greater Boston, is notable for its many seniors; the median age of its singers is 69. But for the past three years, Saengerfest has invited teens and young men from area schools and colleges to join forces for its spring concert, a multigenerational celebration of male voices ranging in age from 15 to well over 80.

Tim Borchers of Medfield, president of the chorus, was still young by the group’s standards when he joined it at age 50, but his story is typical of many of the members.


“I was a music major in school and became a lawyer. I had been singing in mixed choruses for many years, but fell in love with this group, which is made up, by and large, of men who are not trained musicians but have a passion for singing and performing choral music,” he said.

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And Borchers suspects his secret prejudices when he first met the group were typical as well.

“You come in with preconceptions, thinking that because they’re older maybe they can’t hear well enough to stay on pitch, or maybe their voices have become hoarse. But I had a chill-up-the-spine moment when I heard their sound. And I so respect the fact that these men in their 70s and 80s stay active doing something they love and do well.”

Holding an annual multigenerational concert to include younger men in the mix was the brainchild of longtime Saengerfest director Michael Driscoll, who himself knows a thing or two about the potential of young voices through his other role, director of choirs at Brookline High School.

“Part of the mission of Saengerfest is to support and encourage youth to sing throughout their lives,” Driscoll said. “This annual concert is an interesting way to demonstrate to high school and college singers that you can find opportunities to continue singing even once you leave school.”


Among the student groups that will appear in “Boyz to Men” this weekend is a boys’ choir from Natick High School.

“It’s really important for young men to know that singing is an attainable activity to take part in,” said Tyler Turner, Natick’s director of choral ensembles. “Sometimes at the high school level, kids feel like this is just not a cool activity. This kind of concert exposes the kids to other school and college groups similar to theirs. And in addition, when you sing alongside an adult men’s choir, you get some perspective on how singing could be something you do for the rest of your life.”

One young man who definitely hopes to sing that long is Richard Conaway, a Natick High senior and copresident of his school choir. This will be his third time performing with Saengerfest, and he values the experience.

“It is amazing to perform with an adult choir,” he said. “It is awesome to hear them sing and then sing with them. It’s an enriching experience for us, and I find it so inspiring that they have all kept up with their singing, even after college.”

The concert, featuring Saengerfest along with the Boston Children’s Chorus Young Men’s Ensemble, the Natick High School Men’s Choir, and two groups from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, takes place at 3:30 p.m. at Village Church, 2 Central St. in Wellesley Square. Tickets are $25 ($5 for students with a valid student ID), and can be purchased at www.saengerfest.org.


SCULPTURED MUSIC: Celebrating its 35th year, the Rivers School Conservatory has commissioned six Boston-based composers to create works of music inspired by Jaume Plensa’s “Humming,” a sculpture at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln.

Next Tuesday, the conservatory presents the six works — by composers Howard Frazin, John McDonald, Benjamin Pesetsky, Adam Simon, Tom Schnauber, and Matthew Woodward — in a concert at the museum. The program includes an interactive discussion with the composers about each of the pieces.

The museum and grounds at 51 Sandy Pond Road will open at 5:30 p.m. for preconcert hors d’oeuvres and beverages, and the performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 781-235-6840 or go to www.riversschoolconservatory.org.

SINGING CELEBRATION: Family-friendly singer and songwriter Liz Buchanan celebrates the release of her third CD, “Once Upon a Tune,’’ with a concert and singalong Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St. in Arlington.

The general admission tickets are $10, discounted to $8 for children and seniors. For tickets or more information, call 781-646-4849 or go to www.regenttheatre.com.

PRECIOUS VOICES: The Friends of the Marlborough Public Library and the Paternoster Memorial Opera Trust present “Opera Jewels” next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the library’s Bigelow Auditorium, 35 West Main St.

The program includes arias from “La Boheme,” “Don Giovanni,” “The Magic Flute,” “ll Barbiere Di Seville,” and “Cavalleria Rusticana,” with an interlude featuring songs from “Porgy and Bess” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

For more information, call 508-529-9907 or go to www.mpl-friends.org.

ART AS POETRY: The Art­Space Gallery at 63 Summer St. in Maynard is hosting “Nothing Twice (Nic dwa razy),” a mixed-media exhibition that features the work of three artists of Polish ancestry who are honoring Polish Nobel Prize-winning poet Wisawa Szymborska.

An opening reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free. The show is running through April 26 at the gallery; for hours and more information, call 978-897-9828 or go to www.artspacemaynard.com.

VISIONS FROM AFAR: Another show in which literature inspires art is “Visions from Afar: An Exhibition of Book Art Inspired by Ideas of Travel Whether in the Mind or on the Earth,” at Mt. Ida College, 777 Dedham St. in Newton.

Pieces on display range from traditionally crafted books to book-like sculptures to art installations, and they combine age-old bookbinding techniques with textile arts, photography, animation, graphic design, and digital technology.

For more information, call 617-928-4500 or go to www.mountida.edu.

OPEN DOORS: Newton Open Studios takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at locations across the city.

The yearly event features 180 emerging and established artists at commercial and home studios. For a map of participating studios or more information, go to www.newtonopenstudios.org.

ATHLETES UP CLOSE: The gallery at E.P. Levine, 291 Bear Hill Road in Waltham, showcases the work of photographer Len Rubenstein and his series, “Athletes of the Special Olympics,” through May 3, with an artist’s reception on April 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition features portraits of Special Olympic athletes ranging in age from 7 to 100 years old. For more information, call 617-951-1499.

DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: Holocaust Remembrance Day events Monday include a 7 p.m. concert and candle-lighting ceremony at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St. in Newton.

The concert features the Hawthorne String Quartet, led by Mark Ludwig, a Boston Symphony Orchestra violist and executive director of the Terezin Music Foundation.

The program will also have traditions including the survivor candle lighting, followed by chamber music and a choral piece created in the Terezin concentration camp. Temple Emanuel Religious School students will introduce each musical piece.

Admission is free. For more information, call 617-558-8100 or go to www.templeemanuel.com.

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