Mission & History

Mission

The Andover Choral Society is a community chorus with a mission to provide the highest standard of musical performance to the Merrimack Valley community.

History

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.

Since 1926, Collins had been conductor of the Andover Male Choir, formerly the Square & Compass Glee Club. Because women were not allowed to sing with the group, Collins organized a parallel chorus for both men and women, calling it the Andover Choral Society. The group soon became known for its annual Christmas performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” Collins conducted the group until 1984, when George Redman became its second music director.

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, leading the group for the next 24 years.

Michael Driscoll took up the baton in the fall of 2013. A former electrical engineer, he had a passion for music that led him to a new career in choral conducting. 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.