2002 Annual Awards Ceremony

R. Humez and D. Carrier
Roberta Humez and Newton Choral Society music director David Carrier
R. DeCormier
Robert DeCormier accepting for
Mad River Chorale/Counterpoint
B. Cullen, R. Farrell, E. Lintz, D. Hodgkins
Betsy Cullen, far left, and David Hodgkins, far right, with Robert Farrell and Elizabeth Lintz of Choral Arts New England
C. Shadle
Composer Charles Shadle
H. Somerville
Hazel Somerville accepting for
Youth pro Musica

Choral Arts New England held its most recent annual awards ceremony on November 2, 2002, at the First Unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts. Choral Arts presented Alfred Nash Patterson Grants to four choruses and gave its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2002 to Roberta Humez for her long and distinguished career as a choral director, innovator, and educator. Over 100 guests were in attendance, including members of the Choral Arts Board of Directors and other supporters; representatives of the four grantee choruses; and friends and colleagues of Ms. Humez. Also on hand were more than twenty children from Youth pro Musica, who sang three short selections in Ms. Humez's honor, led by current artistic director Hazel Somerville. Ms. Humez founded YPO in 1970 and directed the chorus for 25 years. Among her many other achievements, she has served as music director for the First Unitarian Society for 40 years. The Society graciously provided the space to Choral Arts for this year's awards ceremony in honor of Ms. Humez.

The four choruses receiving Alfred Nash Patterson Grants were:

  • Mad River Chorale/Counterpoint, Waitsfield, Vt., for the development of new repertoire by Latin-American composers, workshop strategies, educational materials, performance designs, and recordings.
  • New England Classical Singers, Andover, Mass., to help launch a professional support structure for publicity, development, and management.
  • Newton Choral Society, Newton, Mass., to help fund a commission for Charles Shadle to compose a New England seasonal cantata on poems by Dickinson, Longfellow, Emerson, Thoreau, and Frost.
  • Youth pro Musica, Newton, Mass., to fund a performance of new works by women composers in honor of Women’s History Month in March 2003.

Acclaimed choral director Robert DeCormier, for many years director of the New York Choral Society, was on hand to accept the grant for Mad River Chorale/Counterpoint, a recently-founded professional chamber chorus in Vermont that he now directs.

Composer Charles Shadle was present to accept the grant for the Newton Choral Society's commission of his new work. His comments are set forth below.

Betsy Cullen, co-president of New England Classical Singers, and Hazel Somerville of YPO accepted the grants for their organizations. David Hodgkins, artistic director of New England Classical Singers, and David Carrier, music director of the Newton Choral Society, were also on hand for the festivities.

Choral Arts presented Roberta Humez with a certificate that highlighted her many accomplishments. The full text is set forth below.

Comments of composer Charles Shadle, November 2, 2002

I am honored this afternoon to be able to offer a few words of thanks to Choral Arts New England. Your Alfred Nash Patterson Grant has allowed the Newton Choral Society, under the inspired leadership of David Carrier, to commission a new hour long work, for Mezzo Soprano, Chorus and Chamber orchestra entitled “New England Seasonal.”

In an era of dwindling funding for the arts, your dedication to the sustenance of a healthy and viable musical culture, is an act both courageous and timely. Making a case for the essential cultural necessity of music is complex, especially when contemplating devastating social or medical needs, yet I think that the consolation and hope that art offers is a powerful and irreplaceable factor in any healthy society. Music makes us more fully human; it makes us humane.

On a personal note I want to thank you for giving me a voice. The composer in isolation is mute: he or she is unable to speak without the agency of those people and organizations that the Alfred Nash Patterson Grants support. Without your assistance my music would exist only as meaningless flyspecks on a sheet of manuscript paper. With it, I hope to be able to focus and reflect the dreams and aspirations of myself and my community.

Thank you.

2002 Lifetime Achievement Award: Roberta Humez

  • Whereas: Roberta Humez has devoted more than five decades to the cause of choral music in New England; and
  • Whereas: Roberta Humez has served in numerous choral capacities as teacher, conductor, organizer, and advisor; and
  • Whereas: Roberta Humez was a charter member of and, for 30 years, active with Chorus pro Musica; and
  • Whereas: Roberta Humez has served for 40 years as music director of the First Unitarian Society of Newton; and
  • Whereas: Roberta Humez founded and, for 25 years, directed Youth pro Musica; and
  • Whereas: Roberta Humez has made a profound and lasting contribution to choral music in New England by leading workshops for choir directors and teachers, Judging vocal and choral competitions, screening contemporary pieces for publication, and conducting choral festivals for both young people and adults;

Now, therefore: Choral Arts New England, in memory of Alfred Nash Patterson and in recognition of those who carry on his work through significant contribution to choral music in New England, presents its Lifetime Achievement Award for the year 2002 to Roberta Humez for her decades of devoted service to the choral arts.

Effective date: 
Saturday, November 2, 2002