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Music of the season

Brooksby Singers fill Peabody community with song

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December 15th, 2016
The Brooksby Singers perform in the chapel at Brooksby under the direction of Trey Pratt. The group’s holiday concert is scheduled for December 14.

The Brooksby Singers perform in the chapel at Brooksby under the direction of Trey Pratt. The group’s holiday concert is scheduled for December 14.

Thelma Tisdale’s love of music forms a strand that can be traced throughout her life. Piano and song are high on her list of favorites.

So when Thelma moved to Brooksby Village eight years ago with her husband John, it didn’t take long for her to join the Brooksby Singers, a choral group that rehearses weekly on campus and performs two concerts a year.

“[Brooksby Singers] provided a nice entrée into life at the community,” says Thelma, who previously sang with the Mishawum Choral Society in Woburn, Mass. “It’s one of the many groups that make Brooksby a great place to live.”

This month, the Brooksby Singers present their annual holiday concert, a collection of songs that celebrate the spirit of the season. The concert is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, in the chapel at Brooksby, located in Peabody. 

 “We typically have between 45 and 50 residents in the Brooksby Singers,” says Thelma, who serves as the group’s manager with the help and support of other chorus members. “Our mission statement is that if you love to sing, you’re welcome to join us.”

Talented performers

Trey Pratt directs the Brooksby Singers. Pratt graduated in May 2016 from Boston University with a master’s degree in sacred music and a concentration in choral conducting.

“This group is a joy to conduct,” says Pratt. “The spirit of the residents shines through during our concerts.”

The Brooksby Singers began rehearsing for their upcoming concert in mid-September. The musical lineup includes traditional favorites such as “O Little Town” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” alongside festive holiday offerings like “A Caribbean Noel” and thoughtful selections like “Light One Candle.”

“The repertoire includes music that is based in the Christian and Hanukkah traditions, while also leaving room for the ideas of winter and the birth of every child,” says Pratt. “A pluralistic holiday celebration acknowledges a variety of faiths and couples them with secular ideas.”

A highlight of this year’s holiday concert will be the return of the Ficici-Putnam duo. Silva Ficici and Judy Putnam are accomplished pianists who live at Brooksby. Judy is the accompanist for the Brooksby Singers.

The Ficici-Putnam duo performed at the 2015 holiday concert and the 2016 spring concert. The audience marveled as both sets of hands moved deftly over the keys.

“It’s great to have such wonderful talent here at Brooksby,” says John Murphy, a member of the Brooksby Singers.

Surprise in store

For this year’s holiday concert, Judy and Silva will be performing the “Moszkowski Waltz” and Leroy Anderson’s lively arrangement of “Sleigh Ride.” New Brooksby resident Norine Grant will join Silva at the piano to play a selection from “The Nutcracker.”

“We even have a surprise in store,” says Judy. “I think the audience will enjoy it.”

For Pratt, the gauge of a successful concert lies in the audience’s response to the music.

“My hope is for the audience to feel both rooted and uplifted,” says Pratt. “These songs speak to many of our childhoods and give us a feeling of being home. They can also help us feel transcendent, challenging us and strengthening our thoughts about faith.” 

Ahead of the Brooksby Singers concerts, seats in the chapel fill up quickly.

“We continue to use the catering room for overflow seating,” says Thelma. “In addition, Brooksby’s television crew will broadcast the concert live on our in-house television channel. We hope it will allow everyone to enjoy the music of the season.”

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