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Celebrate Music! Celebrate Community!

by Steve Desroches

Since the Outer Cape Chorale’s inception in 2002 it has become a beloved community institution by both its members and its audiences around Cape Cod. Open to all, regardless of experience, the chorale offers free concerts expanding on its mission to bring the joy of singing to as many people as possible. And it’s that commitment that has made the transition from the retiring founder Jon Arterton to the new director Allison Beavan so seamless as the chorale prepares for its annual spring concert.
“There was a final ceremony where Jon handed over the baton to me at the after party,” says Beavan about taking the helm of the chorale last winter. “It was so emotional. I realized the awesome responsibility to carry this on.”

After almost 15 years as the maestro Arterton announced he was stepping down, as he and his husband James Mack would be spending the majority of the year in Florida. A change in leadership can be hard for any organization and intimidating for whoever steps into the role, but Beavan, who took over officially in January, says that the 150-member chorale and its board of directors have made her feel nothing but welcomed and that the community camaraderie created through music is still thriving.
“Some of the members bring me a bag of sliced apples so I have something to snack on while we’re working,” says Beavan. “They’ve taken the mission of this group to heart. They’ve fully embraced me. It’s been so meaningful.”

New music director Allison Beavan

While called the Outer Cape Chorale, members come from as far away as Yarmouth and Dennis, and every town in between there and Provincetown. No auditions are required to join and all are welcome. It’s a philosophy Beavan is committed to maintaining. Any new director of any organization certainly wants to make their own mark and path, but Beavan isn’t making many changes, following the don’t fix what isn’t broken mentality.

Originally from western New York State, Beavan has lived in Orleans for the past 28 years and recently retired as the choral director at Nauset Regional High School. Being chosen as the new director of the Outer Cape Chorale is a dream come true, she says, as she has always wanted to work with a community choir and enjoys moving from her experiences working with children to now working with adults. Most of all, she is having fun.

Where Beavan is bringing in her own distinct vision is with musical programming. For her inaugural turn at the baton, Beavan and the chorale present Celebrate Music, a theme she chose not just because she personally has a lot to celebrate with her retirement and new community position, but also to focus the spring show on songs about the happiness that music can bring and the power of the art form – music about celebrating music. The bill includes the 18-minute “Serenade to Music” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, accompanied by a 15-piece orchestra, “Come to the Music” and “The Awakening” by Joseph Martin, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima.

“These pieces celebrate what music means to us,” says Beavan.
While the chorale has been busy fine tuning their bill for this weekend’s concert, they already have their eyes on their fall concert Oh Be Joyful, scheduled for December 9 and 10 in Provincetown, with a date in Orleans on December 11, and their spring 2017 show Mass of the Children by contemporary British composer John Rutter, a work presented in five movements that made its debut at Carnegie Hall in 2003. For that program, the Outer Cape Chorale will perform with a children’s choir.

Beavan’s enthusiasm for her new position, and the work done thus far by the chorale, is palpable in her words and evident in her voice. Talk of music and future plans never strays far from the central focus of the Outer Cape Chorale: community. The community building that happens when people sing together is both a valuable and at times a rare commodity in the modern world. People unplugging from their technological devices and the worries of the world, and tuning in to each other is what the Outer Cape Chorale is all about. It’s a beautiful thing even before they sing a note.

“I’m just so grateful,” says Beavan. “I have so much gratitude for how the chorale, how the community has embraced me. “
The Outer Cape Chorale performs Celebrate Music on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 at Town Hall, 260 Commercial St. at 7 p.m. The chorale will also perform on Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m. at Nauset Middle School, 70 Rte. 28 in Orleans. The event is free, though a goodwill donation will be taken. For more information visit

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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