Philomusica Concert Choir

On May 23, 1969, an eight-member Hungarian Chamber Choir named Philomusica, organized and led by Rosemarie Noone, had its first performance in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ms. Noone was the organist—choir director of the Magyar Reformed Church in New Brunswick. In her adult Hungarian choir were several singers who especially loved choral music and expressed the desire for more than the regular preparation of weekly service music. This small, dedicated, group wanted to perform Baroque music—and proceeded to create a choir that filled a void for central New Jersey audiences. Their first performance was given in Kirkpatrick Chapel, with organist David Drinkwater accompanying.

That initial concert began with Bach's "Christ lag in Todesbanden". Over the years, the choir has performed a wide variety of musical works that are challenging, less familiar, or rarely accessible to local audiences. The choir's foremost mission is to reach our highest level of musical performance. For example, in spring 2009, the choir performed selections "In Praise of Love", including Brahm's "Liebeslieder Waltzes" and Pinkham's "Wedding Cantata". In a totally different vein, in Spring 2011 Philomusica presented "Shakespeare, Brahms and All That Jazz", with Eli Yamin, noted jazz pianist and his colleagues, and in December 2012, the choir performed the Christmas portion of "The Messiah" with orchestra and professional soloists. In spring 2013, Philomusica's program included selections "From the Bay Psalm Book", "Shaker Songs", and the spirituals "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit", and "Ain'-a That Good News". And in May 2015, Philomusica's program included Bob Chilcott's powerful "Requiem" with small ensemble and soprano and tenor soloists.

The choir is now in its 50th concert season (2018-2019) under music director and conductor Dennis Boyle, in his 35th year with Philomusica. In celebration of our 50th year, our program will begin by looking back, and opening with that same original Bach work. It will then continue with works by Faure, Mozart, and others. The program will conclude with the world premier performance of "Songs of Experience" by Norman Noll, commissioned by Philomusica for our anniversary.

The number of voices may have varied over the years, but Philomusica's reputation has always stood as a classical music choir of uncommon quality. What makes this group different seems to stem from the original outlook of the founding members—a chance to perform challenging classical music very well. Today's members still attend weekly rehearsals and truly try to create a sound that fills the hall—and ears—of its patrons. Members know that rehearsals are hard work, but the results are incredibly rewarding—dedicating their personal time, practicing the selections outside of the regular rehearsals.

Dedicated to the music—and dedicated to the task of making Philomusica the premiere classical choir of central New Jersey, all the members are involved voluntarily in the logistics of pulling together these stellar performances—from fund-raising to ticket sales, reception organizing to community liaisons to "stage managing". This is in addition to their "real" jobs—attorneys, stay-at-home moms, accountants, teachers—and many other areas of work, you name it. What brings them together is the love of the music, and knowledge that they perform it well.

Which isn't so different from those eight dedicated musicians who began it all, 50 years ago.

Copyright 2019 Philomusica Concert Choir  All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 6032
East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA 08816
Phone:  (732) 993-5400
Questions?   info at philomusica dot org
Website:  webmaster at philomusica dot org