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Calcari forming community chorus

Anyone can join

Recorder/Beth Reynolds
Paul Calcari conducted his final concert as Greenfield High School music director in May.

Recorder/Beth Reynolds Paul Calcari conducted his final concert as Greenfield High School music director in May.

GREENFIELD — Some of the alumni who returned to Greenfield last spring for retiring Music Director Paul Calcari’s final concert call that weekend one of the best of their lives.

Now they want to keep that good feeling going. And Calcari, 57, will get to keep teaching — through a new Franklin County Community Chorus that kicks off this week.

The chorus is free and open to anyone over 14 in the area who wants to sing. People are welcome to sign up at the first rehearsal, which begins at 6 p.m. this Sunday at the Guiding Star Grange on Chapman Street.

For Calcari, the chorus will be about trying to continue the magic that occurred on stage last May. That chorus, a mix of high school students and alumni, produced a balanced sound and “captured the flavor of every single song they were trying to sing,” he said.

“It’s a feeding of your soul that we all need somehow. This somehow struck a beautiful chord with a lot of people, including myself,” he said. “It’s a lot more than making music. Music is the catalyst but the people are really the important part.”

Within days of his farewell concert, an idea had hatched in his mind to start a community chorus. Kate Seaman, a 2000 alumna, said she was ecstatic to get a call from Calcari and has worked with him and others to organize the group.

“I think your time at Greenfield was just the beginning,” Seaman told Calcari, as they sat on his porch one afternoon last month. “There’s still a lot of really awesome things to come.”

There’s been a buzz about the chorus in the alumni community, she said. Calcari said that every single person he’s asked has said they want to participate.

Some of his most recent students, who are still going to Greenfield High School, may be participating as well. Calcari said that he wants their involvement to be in addition to, and not in lieu of, the regular Greenfield High School music program.

The chorus will try to strike a balance of one that has fun and one that can produce great sound, he said. The group will meet for two hours every Sunday night, with mandatory attendance, and take on a wide variety of musical genres. All levels of musical interest and experience are welcome to participate.

He hopes to have the group ready for its first concert sometime during the holiday season.

Calcari retired this past spring after 27 years as Greenfield High School’s music director. But his retirement had barely begun when his phone rang.

Southwick-Tolland Regional High School had a last-minute opening for their music director and needed help. So, Calcari stepped in and served the first five weeks of school while the school district searched for a full-time replacement.

His second retirement began last week.

For more information about the chorus, email Calcari at pcalcari@gmail.com.

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