The Charles River Chorale’s roots go back to the country’s Bicentennial. The group was formed in 1975 to begin rehearsals for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. As part of that celebration we went as a group, dressed in our Bicentennial clothing, to Washington D.C. to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol building. The group also journeyed up to the Big E and sang as part of that celebration.
The group re-formed in 1985 as the Millis Centennial Chorus to celebrate Millis’ 100th anniversary. At this time the group was able to convince Roy Kelley to remain as the director and the Millis Community Chorale was incorporated in December 1985. The Chorale performed a winter and spring concert in the Millis High School auditorium. Additional concerts are perfermoed at community events.
As the Chorale’s membership expanded, members were drawn from nearby towns. So in 1999 the Millis Community Choir was renamed the Charles River Chorale to include and acknowledge all participating members.
The Chorale has performed with the Greater Marlboro Symphony Orchestra, the Claflin Hill Symphony, as well as participated in “A Community Chorus Festival” conducted by Tamara Brooks at the New England Conservatory along with many other groups from Massachusetts. The Charles River Chorale also participates in Millis’ Memorial Day celebrations and Tree Lighting ceremonies, as well as Medway Pride Day and many other civic occasions.
The Chorale has been involved with outreach with the community starting with the scholarship program. Each year the Chorale would award two students with a scholarhip for voice or instrument lessons. Currently, the Chorale sponsors and does outreach through the Charles River Children’s Choir through the Millis Park and Rec Department.
In 2015, Roy Kelley stepped down as Director and Ashley Nelson was brought on as the new director of the Charles River Chorale introducing the Chorale to new music and training and helping to grow the Chorale’s presence in the community.
Rehearsals are every Tuesday night at 7:30 PM at the Church of Christ Fellowship Hall in Millis. The season starts in September and ends in May.