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Riverdale Choral Society welcomes new director

The Riverdale Choral Society invites singers to join them rehearsing and performing  a program entitled Music Celebrating Holidays of the Season which will take place Sunday, December 7, at 3 p.m. at Christ Church Riverdale and feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, and holiday music selections from around the world.

With this new concert season the chorus bids farewell to longtime music director Mimi Daitz and welcomes new music director, John Lettieri and new accompanist Mavis Pan.

The departing music director, Daitz, tendered her resignation in order to pursue other interests at the end of the sabbatical she took this past spring.  She served as director from 1997 to 2007.  The chorus is deeply indebted to Daitz for her tireless dedication to the betterment of the chorus, the tremendous amount of work she put into im-proving their music literacy and vocal skills and for introducing them to varieties of fine music from diverse cultures. Current and former members continue to express their gratitude for Daitz’ encouragement in the development of their voices and the resulting confidence they gained to perform publicly.  Especially appreciated was her facilitating of collaborative efforts with the Bronx Symphony Orchestra and other community choruses and orchestras as well as her inspiration and planning assistance for trips to Cuba and Estonia to participate in choral festivals.  In recognition of her many contributions, Daitz has been honored with the title of music director emerita.

John Lettieri, the new music director, served as the chorus’s piano accompanist for eighteen years and served successfully as guest conductor this past spring season.  He performs extensively throughout the New York metropolitan area as a pianist, organist, harpsichordist, and conductor. He has given numerous concerts on the organ in the musical instruments gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and has accompanied many of the choral societies in Westchester and New York City. He resurrected and directed the chorus at the College of Mount Saint Vincent for over ten years and also taught music courses at the college. He presently is the music director for the Bedford Presbyterian church where he directs a thirty voice choir and presents major choral works there several times a year. As well as pursuing the study of early baroque music in Germany, he is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists and holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.

Accompanist Mavis Pan, who served in that capacity this past spring season is a composer, conductor, pianist, vocalist and dancer, who presents a fascinating blend of East and West, Classical and Jazz, Sacred and Secular in her unique compositional and performance style. She has performed her compositions in Asia, Europe, and the United States appearing locally at the State Theater, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall and Shea Stadium. In addition to studying composition at the Manhattan School of Music, she is currently pursuing an M.A. in Urban Theological Studies at the Westminster Theological Seminary.

For more than forty years, the Riverdale Choral Society has per-formed standard choral masterworks and works rarely performed, many of them in a number of different languages. As a community organization the chorus has sung with other Bronx choruses and orchestras.

The Riverdale Choral Society is comprised of about 50 congenial singers of various ages and backgrounds and it welcomes experienced sight-readers as well as those who do not sight-read but have a good musical ear.  You may schedule an informal audition with music director John Lettieri by sending e-mail to info@riverdalechoral.org, or by calling (718) 543-2219. Or you may sign up for an informal audition at our open rehearsal on Wednesday, September 3, at 7:30 p.m. Weekly rehearsals are held every Wednesday during the fall semester session from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. at Christ Church Riverdale 252 St. and Henry Hudson Parkway East where there is street parking and good access to public transportation.

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