The Andover Choral Society is dedicated to presenting exceptional performances, connecting to the larger community and fostering an appreciation of choral music.
The year was 1929; a year best known for the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression. But in the town of Andover, Massachusetts, exciting things were happening. At the First National Bank building, the Andover Choral Society was holding its first rehearsal under the baton of J. Everett Collins.
In 1926, Collins had formed the Square & Compass Glee Club which, in 1930, was renamed the Andover Male Choir. Because women were not allowed to sing with the group, Collins organized a parallel chorus for both men and women in 1929: the Andover Choral Society. The group soon became known for its annual performance of Handel’s Messiah each Christmas. Collins conducted the group until 1984, when Keith Gould, director of music at Andover High School and choir director at Andover’s South Church, stepped in to share conducting responsibilities with George Redman. Redman went on to become the group’s permanent music director, leaving the position in 1989.
In recognition of Collins’ service to the town, in 1983 the J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated, and there, in the Collins Center, a talented young tenor named Allen Combs made his New England singing debut. A native of Idaho, Combs taught music at Phillips Academy. In 1989, Combs became the Andover Choral Society’s third music director. Over the next 24 years, Combs introduced the chorus and its appreciative audiences to a wide range of magnificent choral works that included Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
In the fall of 2013, the board of directors appointed Michael Driscoll as the fourth director of music. A former electrical engineer, Driscoll had a passion for music that led him to a new career in choral conducting. Prior to joining the Andover Choral Society, Driscoll was director of Boston’s Saengerfest Men’s Chorus and is currently director of choirs at Brookline High School. Dr. Driscoll has brought a new excitement to the organization and has helped to expand the group’s musical repertoire and visibility in the Merrimack Valley and beyond.
Click here for a list of concerts from 2003 to the present.