Nostalgia is strong amongst the Chorus members and Phyllis Curtin concerning tonight’s C Minor Mass concert. Twenty-five years ago we presented a first-performance of the Mass in New England – an unknown work by an unknown Chorus at Trinity Church. We were fortunate enough to choose Phyllis Curtin, then in Boston, who went on to attain international renown. We have sung with many outstanding artists since then, but Miss Curtin will always be first in our affection and esteem.
Imagine the amazement of that evening, to see the church filled to overflowing, listeners in every available niche – in the aisles, behind the altar, standing in the vestibule and in the balconies. Hundreds of people were turned away. Eventually, the Fire Department was called out for security.
It was the Chorus pro Musica’s first major event. A voluntary collection was taken and poured into a green book-bag after the concert. The bag was carried over the shoulder of the conductor, who celebrated with the Chorus, til the wee hours of the morning. It was counted with great care around a card table at 4: 30 a.m. by Mr. and Mrs. Patterson in their pajamas.
Rudolph Elie, the critic from the Herald at the time, came late and found what was offered, only a spare chair behind the alto section. Even from that “dis”-vantage point, he sensed the exuberance that the Chorus felt and projected in the music. Perhaps half a dozen of our present Chorus members can remember it.
I don’t believe any of our more professional highlights since have exceeded the exhilaration of March 19,1949.
—A.N.P. (Alfred Nash Patterson, Chorus pro Musica’s founder)
Printed in the 25th anniversary concert program, November 6, 1973 (Trinity Church). The concert program was:
- J.S. Bach: Cantata No. 50, “Nun ist das Heil”
- W.A. Mozart, Ave verum corpus, K. 618
- W.A. Mozart, Scene, “Bella mia fiamma”, K. 528 (Phyllis Curtin, soprano)
- W.A. Mozart, Great Mass in C Minor, K. 427
- Phyllis Curtin, soprano; D’Anna Fortunato, mezzo-soprano; Frank Hoffmeister, tenor; Santo Cataudella, bass