About Us

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 with additional concerts 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.

Join the chorale

Executive Board


Robert Archibald, Chair

Liz Forsythe, Vice Chair

Karen Gehm, Treasurer

Bethany Gerry, Secretary



Meaghan Quilop

Anne McKee

Donna Keesling

Roy Kelley, Director Emeritus

Roy KelleyRoy S. Kelley was Founder and Artistic Director of the Charles River Chorale which was formed in 1985 to celebrate Millis’ MA Centennial. Membership was comprised of singers from several towns in the Charles River area.

Roy was made Director Emeritus of the Charles River Chorale and announced at the 30th Annual Spring Concert on May 2, 2015.

A graduate of the University of Vermont in 1961, Roy served the educational field as a music specialist for 31 years – six years in Vermont (2 years with the Waterbury School System and 4 years with the Burlington School System) and then 25 years as Director of Choral Activities with the Brookline MA School System. During that time his choral groups entertained many civic and religious organizations in the Boston area. There were appearances at Symphony Hall in Boston as well as Washington D. C. and a tour of the British Isles. On the Masters level, he studied choral conducting with Lorna Cooke de Varon at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Roy became a member of the New England Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association in 1985 and received his Orff Teaching Certificate from the Boston Conservatory in 1990. He then went on to serve as President of the New England Chapter for 2 years.. He is also a member of NAfME as well as the American Guild of Organists and the National Association for Music Education. Roy has also been guest conductor for Junior and Senior High School All-State Music Festivals in MA, RI and NH. He was a member of the faculty with the Rhode Island Music Educators Summer Music and Dance Camp for 9 years.

During his teaching years in Burlington, Vermont, Roy was a member of the Champlain Shakespeare Festival (5 years), providing music for productions as a Festival Minstrel – 2 record albums resulting. During his years as music specialist in Brookline MA, he was a member of the CAPE-TASTICS – a cabaret trio performing in the MA/RI area.

Roy as been an Organist/Choirmaster since 1959 and has served several denominations in VT and MA – presently playing and directing 2 choirs at St. John The Evangelist Church in Duxbury MA – a position he has held since 1995. In addition to his church duties in Duxbury, he became Director of the Snug Harbor Community Chorus in 2001.

Roy passed away in early 2023 in Vermont and is survived by his wife, Jeanine and their children.