140-voice chorus to present holiday concerts

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
The Mercersburg Community Chorus

The Mercersburg Area Community Chorus will celebrate its 35th year with holiday concerts Dec. 4 and 5 in the Mercersburg Academy Chapel. Performance times are 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The 140-voice chorus and full orchestra under the direction of Richard Rotz will be joined by baritone soloist Alex Helsabeck.

The concerts will feature selections from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Ave Maria and O Come Let Us Worship by Rachmaninoff, as well as contemporary works by Malcom Dalglish and Daniel Gawthrop. The audience will join the chorus for traditional carols, and the concert will conclude with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Helsabeck was a member, soloist, and section leader of the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants, and is currently a member and soloist with the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C.  He received Associate, Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in music from Academia Di Vocale in Lucca, Italy. Helsabeck directs an afternoon school vocal program in Washington, D.C., known as NOTEBUSTERS, whose productions include over 200 voices, children and adults combined; and in 1992 he was named to the list of “People Who Make a Difference” in Washington, D.C., for his charitable contributions through the arts.  In recent years Alex’s performances have included A German Requiem by Brahms, Mass in Time of War by Hayden, The Seven Last Words by Dubois, and Messiah by Handel. Alex has just completed his newest CD, My Altar by the Sea, a selection of spirituals sung a cappella.

Founded in 1975, the Mercersburg Community Chorus performs two concert series each year, in April and December.

Admission to the concerts is free; however, a freewill offering will be taken.

Seating at the Mercersburg Academy Chapel is limited and there are no reserved seats; therefore, early arrival is recommended.

For information, call 717-328-2324 or visit

Alex Helsabeck