Southington’s got talent – Southington Observer

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Southington Festival Chorale director Chris Hertel, center, offers a lesson during a recent rehearsal. The group meets on Mondays at the Gura Building, the home of Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA).



Every Monday night, the Hopko Performance Hall at the Southington Community Cultural Arts center comes alive. The beautiful melodies sung by the talented singers of the Southington Festival Chorale echo through the halls of the building, and invite the ear of any who wish to hear.

For over 40 years, the Southington Festival Chorale has invited the community to embrace their inner musician and join the fun. The group rehearses weekly, and performs two concerts each year. They are currently preparing for their spring concert, which will be performed Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church at 232 Bristol St.

“This is the best kept secret in Southington,” said chorale director Chris Hertel. “We want people to know we are here, to join us, to sing with us. Having a community chorale can help build a stronger community by all of us coming together to sing.”

There are no auditions required to join. Members pay dues of $25 per concert, and that helps the chorale rent rehearsal space and materials. The fee is nominal, compared to another nearby community chorale which requires a fee of over $200 per year.

“This is a dedicated group, and we have a lot of fun,” said Hertel. There are currently around 40 members. The chorale covers a large variety of musical styles, periods and levels of difficulty. “We do a little bit of everything.”

A few years ago, the chorale lost funding from the town. They rely on membership dues, grants, fundraisers and donations to stay afloat. Hertel said the group has much to offer to the community.

“We are here for the town of Southington,” he said. “This is something that offers an adult recreation service and a creative music outlet to all residents.”

Vivien Norowski has been singing with the Southington Festival Chorale for 40 years.

“I have always enjoyed singing, and I enjoy the variety of music that we cover,” she said. Being a member of the chorale fulfills the musical aspect of her life that she doesn’t get elsewhere. “This also becomes a social group—we’re all friendly here and we have a lot of fun.”

Sharon Tyler has been coming to rehearsals for literally her entire life. Her mother is one of the founding members of the chorale.

“I started as a tag-along. My mom used to take me to rehearsals when I was little,” said Tyler. “Over the years, I got involved in a variety of different music groups like my church choir and the school choir, until I was old enough to join the festival chorale.”

Tyler still sings beside her mother during rehearsals.

The chorale is always accepting new members, and hopes to continue to grow and thrive. Members do not need past chorale experience, nor do they need to come knowing how to read sheet music—they just require a love for music and an interest in learning.

To learn more about the festival chorale, or to become a member, contact or find them on Facebook by searching “Southington Festival Chorale.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at


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