The Greater Falmouth Mostly All-Male Men’s Chorus, under the direction of John Dulina, IV, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a concert titled, “Greater Falmouth Mostly All-Male Men’s Chorus: Past, Present, Future.” Performances are Saturday, June 6, at 7:30 PM and Sunday, June 7, at 3 PM, at the First Congregational Church of Falmouth.
The concert will celebrate the songs of the chorus’s past and present, and news of the future direction of the chorus will be revealed. There will be a reception immediately following the Sunday concert at the church. The public is encouraged to attend to meet the members, enjoy refreshments, and watch a slide show about the chorus.
Tom Goux, who founded the chorus with Tom Aldrich in 1990, and led it for 13 years, will conduct some of his favorite selections from the GFMAMMC’s early years, and other former music directors will attend, including Nalora Steele, John Yankee, and Brittany Haskell.
Two members, Marvin Karp and Bill Black, have composed songs that will be premiered at the concert, and “A Whale of a Tale” will be sung in honor of long-time member Marty Tulloch, who died in December 2014. It was one of his favorite songs.
“The chorus has shown amazing growth this past year,” said Marcy Franklin Lerner, president of the GFMAMMC. “We have 65 members now, up from 44 last year. Many former members have rejoined, and we have several new members as well. The vitality of the group springs from John Dulina’s dynamic, professional leadership and the group’s camaraderie and spirt,” she said.
“We have chosen a selection of the chorus’s favorite songs for the 25th annual concert, ‘Aura Lee,’ ‘Sh-Boom’ (‘Life Could be A Dream’), and ‘Under the Boardwalk,’ along with some new music, like ‘Jersey Boys,’” Franklin Lerner said. “And we have some surprises in store.”
“Twenty-five years ago,” said Tom Goux, “I was teaching music at Morse Pond School. Fathers of students and male friends of mine would often tell me they used to sing in a glee club or chorus, and that they enjoyed it so much, but no longer sang.”
Goux had also sung with his college glee club, which had inspired him to become a choral director. “I began to get the feeling something was about to happen,” said Goux. He and Aldrich went to the Falmouth Enterprise, who published an article about the new chorus with the light-hearted headline, “250 Male Singers Wanted—No Auditions Necessary.”
“Our first audition was held in January 1990. I was expecting maybe two dozen people, but 60 people walked through the door. My suspicions were confirmed. This was something waiting to happen.”
Within two weeks, membership had climbed to 75 or 80 and hit a high of 115 within three or four years.
“We had an unspoken, basic precept that we all embraced: this was going to be a place where you could come and sing,” said Goux. “Being a ‘singer’ wasn’t a prerequisite. What mattered was the spirit you brought with you and your interest in making the chorus happen.”
That spirit has remained with the chorus over the years. “A magical thing happens when the sum of the parts is so much bigger than you could ever imagine. It’s a wonderful feeling to make that kind of harmony,” said Goux.
Women, singing tenor and occasional baritone parts, were members from the beginning, and the chorus’s name was selected to humorously acknowledge this. Under Goux’s leadership, the chorus performed annual concerts at Lawrence School, filling the 700-800-seat auditorium for each of two weekend shows. The chorus gave back to the school, donating proceeds to the Falmouth Arts in the Schools programs, where it was used to bring performers to elementary schools.
Goux will conduct two songs from the chorus’s early years. “’Do You Fear the Wind?’ is almost Kiplingesque poetry, a lovely little tone poem, and “Brother Sing On” has a wonderful glee club ring,” he said.
“My tenure with the chorus was one of the big joys, one of the happy accidents, of my life,” said Goux. “I am delighted to be taking part in this 25th anniversary celebration. It reminds me of all the fun and camaraderie, the brotherhood and sisterhood of the chorus, the harmony of cooperation and making it all work.”
Goux credited John Flynn and the late Marty Tulloch for their invaluable assistance to the chorus, as well as several accompanists who worked with the chorus during the early years: Susan Pennington, Jeanne Kuzarian, and Pat Crews.
The chorus will pay tribute to Tulloch with a performance of “A Whale of a Tale,” one of the songs he loved best. In addition to singing with the chorus, Tulloch also advised on audio issues.
Bill Black and his wife Pat were charter members of GFMAMMC, but dropped out for a few years. Both are returning to be part of the anniversary concert. The chorus will be singing one of Bill’s compositions, “Veterans’ Hymn.”
Black, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, composed “Veterans’ Hymn” about a dozen years ago. “It is dedicated to the veterans of Falmouth, departed and living,” he said. “I hope it is as meaningful to the audience as it is to me. I am grateful to the chorus members, director John Dulina, and accompanist Debbe Carlisle, for their hard work in helping to prepare this composition for its debut.”
“We have always sung at Falmouth’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances,” said Franklin Lerner, “and we are honored to be singing a song that Bill has written and that emphasized our roots in the Falmouth community.”
Marvin Karp, of Mashpee, who has been a member for several years, will premiere his new composition, “Silence of Stars,” at the concert. The song grew out of a poem he wrote last summer. “The piece suggests that meaning is not solely found in earthly existences, that a quiet connection to that which is beyond our daily life is needed to reinforce our sense of place within the cosmos,” said Karp.
Jack Hart has arranged “Silence of Stars” for chorus, and there will be several solos in the piece. “I’m excited about taking this song on its first voyage,” said Karp.
Debbe Carlie will accompany the chorus.
Tickets are $10, $5 for children under 12. For more information, visit falmouthmenschorus.org or contact Marcy Franklin Lerner, president of the chorus, at 508-564-0054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.