BENNINGTON - Chorally inclined individuals are invited to consider singing with the Choir of the First Congregational Church ("The Old First Church"), in Bennington.

Under the direction of Charles Olegar, whose career now comprises more than four decades as a professional church musician, the Choir of the Old First Church is dedicated to providing outstanding choral music and dynamic musical leadership each Sunday morning and on special occasions.

The choir's repertoire offers an exceptional opportunity to prepare and present musical treasures covering several centuries, along with a certain amount of more recent classically rooted music, all within the context of worship.

Each Sunday's music is selected and prepared with the aim of helping make the Old First Church's services a source of spiritual invigoration and nourishment for all, augmenting the worship service with classical choral literature of recognized spirituality.

The Old First Church's Choir offers an inclusive, warmly embracing, supportive community, welcoming and celebrating diversity, reflective of the larger congregation.

Church membership is NOT a prerequisite, although the choir is always delighted should participation lead to that level of involvement in the Old First Church congregation.

The choir likewise embraces a fairly wide range of musical backgrounds, united by the desire to realize each member's greatest potential as a choral singer.


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The group is blessed with some amazingly high levels of experience and ability, as well as by those who consider themselves relative novices, the majority being at various places in-between.

Members simply enjoy choral singing; many bring basic reading skills, but others learn "by ear" and often find their ability to read music enhanced through the weekly round of service music.

Singers who are interested in the Old First Church Choir but are not certain about their vocal quality should not be deterred!

Part of the choir's work focuses on developing basic singing technique, which can help individuals discover often-surprising personal potential! Singers are invited to participate on a trial basis for a while, then assess whether or not they wish to continue.

They can also plunge in full throttle, should they desire! In terms of attendance, the Old First Church Choir seeks to be flexible, with the understanding that each member is committed to being as regular as possible and to supporting various aspects of successful group dynamics, such as punctual arrival, reporting impending absence, and the like.

Rehearsals are weekly, on Wednesdays, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Church Barn, One Monument Circle (near the Monument) in Old Bennington. Each Sunday morning the choir warms up at the church at 10:30 a.m. , for an 11 a.m. service.

The most typical way of coming aboard the Old First Church Choir is by expressing interest to director Charles Olegar, either personally after a service or by e-mail (contact information is available through the church office, 802-447-1223).

Organist and Choir Director Charles Olegar, the Old First Church's new organist and choir director, is presently in his fifth decade as a professional church musician, having begun his career at age fifteen in his native Akron, Ohio.

For more information, call Lucy Gardner Carson at 716-870-0412 (cell), or by e-mail : lucygardnercarson@msn.com.