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Recordings of Cantata 2014 Selections

Use This Link to Recordings of Cantata 2014 Selections

Repost-Reminder – Hornell Christmas Cantata – Rehearsal Announcement and Information

Dear Singers and Musicians:

 Students are back in school, migrating geese have been heard, the NFL is back, and Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas aren’t far behind, so that means that


 Performance Date: 7 December 2014 (7:00 PM, St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, Hornell)

 Music Pickup, Listen Through, and First Rehearsal: 19 October 2014, United Presbyterian Church, Hornell

 Rehearsal Times: 6:30-8:30 PM Sunday, beginningOctober 19th

Please participate in this year’s Community Christmas Cantata, and please spread the word. Our email list has some invalid addresses, and we want to make sure that we reach everyone who sang with us last year and as many other singers as possible. Please post the attached announcement in your church, at work, or any other visible place. Make as many copies as you need. We’re not sending a letter to area churches this year. Instead, we’re relying on you to publicize the Cantata by posting the announcement and placing the information in your bulletins and/or newsletters.

Here are the rehearsal details. Our first meeting is Sunday, 19 October. You can purchase scores starting at 5:30 PM. We will have the music playing, and there will be a regular rehearsal, 6:30-8:30 with our very own worry-early music director, Mark Smith. Music pick-up and rehearsals will be at The United Presbyterian Church, 150 Main Street in Hornell (use the Church Street entrance). All subsequent rehearsals (except for the one on Saturday, 6 December) will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, also at The United Presbyterian Church.

The cost of the music is $15. We hope to have practice CD’s available at a modest additional cost. The music price includes a little extra to pay for orchestration and expenses, such as shipping costs.

Mark Smith looked high and low, and he found a wonderful cantata titled “Were You There On That Christmas Night?” by Lloyd Larson, one of America’s leading composers of sacred music. Along with this cantata we will fill out our program with three additional pieces; namely,

“Christmas Pipes,” arranged by John Leavitt, “What Child” by Paul W. Lohman, and a surprise, yet to be determined. That’s Mark’s way of keeping options open, and keeping us on the edge of our seats. And yes, we will also perform the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “Messiah.” (Dig out your copy, if you have one!)

If you’re not sure about participating in this year’s Cantata, let me make some points that might help you decide to make the commitment. First, our chorus is open to inexperienced singers. We don’t have auditions. All we ask is that you are serious about your participation by attending rehearsals and by practicing a little bit on your own. Mark is not only a wonderful director; he is a great choral teacher. Second, this is a short commitment – eight weeks. I sing in my church choir, in the Cantata chorus, and in Orpheus. I love to sing in choral groups, but that wasn’t always the case. I started singing as an adult when Jackie Walker (the first Cantata director) asked me to commit to eight weeks of singing in the Cantata. That got me hooked, and maybe you’ll get hooked too. Even if you don’t, it’s just eight weeks, with one rehearsal a week. Third, we don’t have age limits. If you’re a senior, and you’re worried about standing on risers for the performance, we can make sure that you stand on the floor, or that you sit. If you’re a young person, we welcome you as long as you are a serious, full participant. Rehearsals are both fun and hard work (the two really can be compatible!). Discipline is required, because Mark has a lot of ground to cover each time we meet. Fourth, this is an opportunity to join with friends and strangers (who won’t be strangers after you sing with them) to present a gift to the community, a very precious gift at a time when the true meaning of Christmas is needed more than ever. Fifth (and I’ll stop with five, even though I could keep going), we have an amazing director – Mark Smith – who really makes the hard work of rehearsing a joy and the highlight of the week for many of us.

Join Us – Please!

Please make the commitment to attend all of the rehearsals. We know that jobs, travel, illness, and other events in your life may force you to miss one or two rehearsals. However, please remember that the morale of the group and the enjoyment of the process are directly linked to optimum attendance. Our performance in St. Ann’s is the highlight and culmination of our efforts, but the fellowship and enjoyment of participating in the cantata is rooted in the rehearsals. So please give this your most serious consideration.

On behalf of the Hornell Community Choir, best wishes! We look forward to having you singing with us this year!

Jim Varner

flyer announcement–2014

Proceeds from Cantata offering

Dear Singers,

Ann Fitzpatrick, the Cantata Treasurer, reports that the amount of the Cantata offering was $1,500 (rounded off by $5).  She gave a check for $1,500 to the Hornell Area Humane Society, so it has the funds.  Mark and I will try to arrange a “check presentation” with a picture in the hopes that we can get a story in the newspaper.  The amount of the offering was not a record, but it was pretty good, considering the state of the local economy.


Further Information on Memorial Gifts for Mark’s Sister

Dear Singers,

Mark sent me an email thanking us for our thoughts and prayers.  He also included information on two places the family has suggested for donations, if anyone wishes to make a donation in memory of his sister.  Here is that information:

Memorials may be made to
Good Shephard Hospice Center
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital




Information and Christmas Greetings

Some of you might want to make a donation in memory of Mark’s sister.  We do not have specific wishes from Mark or his family.  However, thanks to Barbara Stephens, I can give you the name of the hospice that cared for her, and the link to their Web site.  It is Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson, NY.  Here is the link to their Web site for donations

In the absence of specific wishes from Mark or his family, you could also make a donation to a charity of your choice in memory of his sister, Marilynn Jacoby, and Mark will receive notice of your gift.

Mark’s address is 7675 State Route 21, Hornell, NY 14843.

Merry Christmas from Linda and me!


Sad News

Dear Singers,

Mark’s sister passed away this morning.

I have no further information at this time, but Linda and I agreed that you would want to know, and that Mark would want you to know.

Our prayers are with Mark and his family.


Congratulations and Thank You!

I wanted to wait to hear from Mark before sending my own post-performance message.

Congratulations!  You put your heart and soul into the performance, and it showed.  We can be very proud of what we presented to our audience Sunday evening.

Thank you!  Thanks to every one of you who sang with us this year, whether it was your first time or your umpteenth time.  From the first rehearsal, we had a great blend of sound, and you worked hard to learn Zulu, complicated rhythms, and the right notes.

Thank you to everybody who worked behind the scenes to make the Cantata a success.  Missy Logan and Elena Wallace put together the program under a lot of pressure.  I should have gotten things to them earlier, and I missed the missing Altos in my proofing of the program.  Sorry Missy and Leni!  Sorry Altos!  Chuck Flansburg had an usually difficult time with the risers this year.  The issue was not putting them and taking them down; he had good help with that (thanks to everybody who pitched in).  The problem was transporting them.  Things did not go smoothly Friday afternoon, when the risers were brought to St. Ann’s.  And then Monday morning, when he expected the City of Hornell truck to be available for taking the risers back to Alfred-Almond school, all the City trucks were tied up with snow removal.  As the rest of us were basking in the afterglow of our performance, Chuck was scrambling to locate alternate transport.  I’m not sure, but I think he found a savior in Ward Votava.  If so, thanks, Ward!  Thank you to the collectors of the offering.  Barbara Stephens and I “bagged” the money after the performance, and our Treasurer, Ann Fitzpatrick picked it up for deposit.  As soon as I have the information from Ann, I’ll let you know how much was collected to give to the Humane Society.  Thank you for your donations for gifts for Mark, Pat, Chris, and the musicians.  And a special thank you to my wife, Linda, for searching for and finding just the right gifts.  She starts thinking about the gifts as soon as she learns the name of the Cantata.

I took the CD and DVD orders to Bob Peisher Monday, and we was working on the editing.  You should get your CD’s and DVD’s on time, as promised.  It’s not too late to order a CD or DVD.  Just get in touch with Bob Peisher at Peish Video in Hornell.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




From Our Friends John and Marilyn


Here are some words I want you all to see.  These are from John Bartell and Marilyn Fish.



From John

 “Our sincere thanks to you and the choir for your gifts, not only in kind, but from your hearts.   The annual presentations really bring on the Christmas Spirit and I am humbled to have been asked to be a part of them.”

“Every year seems to get better.  The Blend, Crescendos in just the right places help to make the music so outstanding.  Of course, I have the best seat in the house.”


From Marilyn

“I really enjoyed the concert on Sunday night. It  keeps getting better and better, How fortunate we are”


Are You Still Levitated?

Dearest Friends

I remember after the first cantata in St. Anns I spoke with Jim Varner a few days later and he informed me that his feet had still not touched the ground.  Ahhhhh the post-cantata glory.  Its still a magical levitation to me.  I hope it is for you also.

Ladies and Gentlemen, beside a little wobble as the train rounded that first bend, this was as fine a performances as we’ve ever given.  I felt like you were in such control and that I could add a few additional musical subtleties than we never practiced.  (especially diminuendos – bringing the volume down at some points).  I thought we were on fire and especially impressive on the Bach, Hope for Resolution and What Strangers.  (Jim, thanks for the setup for “Hope”) Annnnnnd .. that Hallelujah chorus blew my socks off.  I think that is the first time I felt 100% confident from beginning to end on that piece.  Its one of those pieces that people will enjoy, even if its not perfect, but thats not good enough for us ..  we nailed it!!   I know that you had to recognize the explosion of response in return.

I have received many compliments in the past few days.  Ive also heard several stories of how meaningful this event is to people individually.  This is a hidden appreciation that we will never hear, a silent applause.  We think of most applause as that wonderful collective sound of appreciation, but I also am aware of a meaningful, quieter, internal, personal “applause” that I connect with.   Sometimes this personal applause leaks out.  From where i stand on the podium, I am treated to these mini personal signs of approval.   They take some odd forms.  I don’t know if you hear them up there but there is a audible soup of Oooos, Ahhs, mini hoots, deep breathing, mini gasps, and early applause that let me know that we are moving individuals with our sound.  I really get a kick out of that phenomenon.

And so, I applaud you for your courage and desire to reach down deep within yourselves and pour out joy and comfort for all to absorb.

Thank you to everyone who makes this happen in little and big ways.  And, thank you all for your generosity with my gift.  The Steuben Glass vase is both beautiful and meaningful.  The dinner .. well i’m sure it will be beautiful .. … Until i eat it :)

Bravo to everyone. you are in my heart.  Merry Christmas.



Dear Singers and Musicians,

Linda and I invite you to our house after the Cantata performance Sunday evening.  We will provide beverages of various types.  If you come, we ask that you bring a snack to share.

We are at 424 Seneca Road, Hornell (actually, we’re in the Village of North Hornell).  We’re on the West side of Seneca Road, north of Bethesda Drive.  We have distinctive Christmas decorations that  make it easy to identify our house in the dark.  There are two very large illuminated bells hanging above the railing on our front porch, and there is an illuminated Moravian star hanging above the front steps (between the bells).  I have attached a map to this post to help you out.  If you get lost, call us (324-0850).

Parking is an issue when we have lots of guests.  There’s room for a few cars in our driveway, which is on the south side of the house.  A couple of cars could park on our front lawn, but be very careful not to hit our small trees!  You may park on Jones St. and Linwood Ave., which are on the east side of Seneca Road, just south of our house.  We have a difficult neighbor who lives on the southeast corner of Jones St.  He has a garage directly on Seneca St., and he gets very, very upset if anybody parks in front of his garage or across from his garage on Jones St.  Parking is allowed on Jones St. (we’ve checked with the Village Office), and we’re going to call this neighbor to let him know that some people may park on Jones St.  We hope this will avoid problems.  You can park on Cleveland Ave., and from there, it’s about a five-minute walk to our house.

I hope the link to the map works.  If anyone wants a map and can’t open the link to this post, please let me know.  I can bring some printed maps to Saturday rehearsal or Sunday.

Jim and Linda Varner

Hornell – house map