The Northport Chorale will hold its Winter Concert tonight, Dec. 13, in dedication to it’s greatest fan and founder, Carlton Benjamin.
About 30 years ago, Carlton Benjamin had a dream to form a choral group in his hometown of Northport, his daughter Elaine Benjamin Rosner wrote in a press release. Avid music lovers, he and his wife, Evelyn, were inspired after hearing a chorale in another village and thought, “Why not Northport?” Benjamin, 88, died Oct. 11 at the Northport Veterans Hospital after a long illness. In his memory, the Chorale will be dedicating the concert to their beloved founder and first president.
Started in 1982 under the auspices of the Northport school district’s continuing education program, the Chorale filled a musical void in the community, quickly growing in both number of voices as well as in popularity under the leadership of founding director, Richard Nielson. Current director, Nicholas Hart, along with the support of accompanist Judy Pesner guides the sixty-voice chorus in many musical styles aimed at a wide variety of audiences. In addition to the annual Winter Concert, the Chorale performs at many venues including the Northport and Vanderbilt tree lightings, area churches, nursing homes, and the Northport Veterans Hospital. In October, the Chorale was honored to sing at “The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall” event in Huntington.
“When my father started the Chorale, I don’t think he imagined that it would be going strong after thirty years,” Benjamin Rosner said. “He loved music; enjoyed singing in the Chorale along with my mother, the camaraderie with the other singers, and sharing the gift of music with audiences throughout Long Island.”
Benjamin’s legacy also lives on in his son-in-law, charter member Donald Woods, daughter Pamela’s husband, who sings bass in the Chorale as well as being an actor and singer in Northport’s Community Theater. Both Woods’ have seen to it that despite his failing health, both Benjamin and his wife were in attendance at the Chorale’s concerts and annual banquets. “We will miss having him in the audience this Friday,” said Woods of his father-in-law. “But, his spirit will be felt by all of us.”
Friday’s concert will include lively seasonal music from various traditions. The Children’s Chorus will be featured on some of the selections, and the program will conclude with all-time favorite the “Hallelujah” chorus. The concert will be held at Northport High School, 154 Laurel Hill Road, Northport at 8 p.m.
Tickets prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students, and can be purchased at the door. The Northport Chorale is a not-for-profit organization. Donations in founder Carlton Benjamin’s memory can be made to the Northport Chorale, P.O. Box 55, Northport, NY 11758. Music enthusiasts who enjoy choral singing are encouraged to visit the Chorale’s website: www.northportchorale.org/; or call (631) 754-3144 for more information.