Berkshire Choral International

October 17th, 2014

From Chorister Grace: For those singers who would love to sing the Mozart Vespers again (!), you can do so with Berkshire Choral International (formerly the Berkshire Choral Festival) in Portland, Oregon. The Portland week next year is from June 21 – 28 and will also include Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas with Karen Thomas conducting. Ms. Thomas is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Seattle Pro Musica. Other Berkshire programs offered in 2015 include a week in Ireland at the National University of Ireland campus in the village of Maynooth, outside Dublin, performing Haydn’s Creation with Julien Wachner conducting. And there are three weeks to select from in the original Berkshires of western Massachusetts – Britten’s War Requiem, July 11 – 19 with Jane Glover conducting; the music of Duke Ellington and his era, July 19 – 26 with Philip Brunelle conducting; and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, July 26 – August 2 with Erin Freeman conducting.

Each week rehearsals are held mornings and evenings with most afternoons free for local sight-seeing and with the concert – with orchestra – on Saturday night. BCF usually offers organized local trips for the afternoons and also offers some programs for the non-singing partners of members of the chorus.

BCF also has a paid apprentice program for professional-track undergrad and grad students, and the Berkshire Scholar program for college undergraduate music students. More information on both of these programs can be found at There are also limited partial scholarships available for singers of any age.

Having vacationed with BCF almost every year since 2004, I heartily recommend the experience. For anyone interested, following is additional information about the registration process.

The online registration site is now available at Following is some information that explains the enrollment process.

1. Open enrollment lasts until December 31. Everyone who applies during that timeframe is considered in the selection.

2. The selection is made in January, and notifications are sent out by mid-month.

3. We do our best to fit singers into the week of their choice, but achieving a proper voice balance can prevent this. Therefore we encourage you to list a first, second, and even third choice to optimize your chances of getting in. (And keep in mind, if you attend one season, you may apply early for the next season!)

4. Applications are accepted after December 31 based on voice part availability until all spots are filled.

5. When you do apply, be sure to read the admissions page on the website. There is much important information, especially for those who are new to BCF.

8. Any questions about registration, applying, and participating can be addressed to Chorister Services Director Cynthia Pease at or by calling 413-229-8526.

Come talk to me if you want to know more!


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