New name, new director, new location, new logo for singers

To the Editor:

Forty years ago, Frances B. Tripp, a retired Schoharie Central School music teacher and choral director, founded the Depot Lane Singers, a community choir consisting of voices from Schoharie County and beyond.

After careful evaluation, the board of the Depot Lane Singers has announced a name change that will fully embrace the widening geographic area where both singers and concert attendees reside. The Schoharie Valley Singers, a newly-minted 501(c)3 not-for-profit, has officially been organized with Articles of Incorporation filed.

In 1979, at Tripp’s retirement party, a group of former students offered singing entertainment for the occasion. A delighted Tripp brilliantly suggested forming a community choir that would offer concerts for public enjoyment. Tripp, a member of Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association, secured rehearsal space at SCHA’s old creamery building-turned-arts-and-theatre space on Depot Lane in Schoharie. Proceeds from concerts were used for SCHA’s ongoing projects.

Over the years, Tripp’s choir performed both spring and Christmas concerts at the Schoharie High School gymnasium. In addition, the singers were invited to perform at The Tall Ships celebration for Albany’s Tercentennial in 1986 and they gave a performance at Proctors Theater.

Tripp retired as the Depot Lane Singers director at the close of 2004. She was honored that concert evening by many local legislators including Governor George Pataki.

In 2005, the board announced that Mitch Haverly, a retired music and choral director from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District, would serve as Tripp’s successor. Haverly, a former student teacher under Tripp, brought a new perspective to the singers through his artistic directorship and musical selections that included culturally diverse pieces.

Under his leadership in recent years, the choir expanded to add a new venue, the Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, thus creating a two-performance weekend offering entertainment to a wider audience from a larger geographic area. Haverly also diversified performance offerings to include parades, Hospice Christmas tree-lightings, and other community events.

Haverly announced his intended retirement in 2018; however, he will continue to participate as both a singer and as director emeritus.

This year, the board named current accompanist and associate director, Benjamin April, as the artistic director succeeding Haverly. April currently serves as a middle school music teacher and choral director for Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District. He is involved with various church and community choirs as well as theater productions. He is looking forward to leading the Schoharie Valley Singers into its next chapter.

Beginning this fall, the Schoharie Valley Singers will launch rehearsals for Christmas at their new home in the Cultural Hall of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Central Bridge. This new location will offer ground-level rehearsal space, convenient parking, and an easily accessible location off Interstate 88.

The new Schoharie Valley Singers is very appreciative of the Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association for giving us a home for the past 39 years. We are excited about our future with Benjamin April as our incoming artistic director and we look forward to welcoming new members as we begin our 40th season continuing in the tradition of quality choral music in Schoharie County.

Robert A. Holt


Schoharie Valley Singers

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