Manchester >> The Putney School Orchestra and Madrigals are taking the show on the road with three performances of "Music of the French Cathedrals" with the Bennington County Choral Society, reveling in the rich and diverse choral and orchestral tradition of French Romantic and post-Romantic composers.

Joining the Choral Society for these performances are soprano soloist Eleanor Macchia, in addition to the two Putney guest ensembles. Together, the combined chorus and full orchestra fill the stage in a blockbuster concert program featuring more than 100 talented local musicians.

Concert performances are at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester on Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m., and at the Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington on Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. The following Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., the three groups present a special encore performance in Calder Hall, at The Putney School's Michael S. Currier Center in Putney.

Music Director Cailin Marcel Manson invites concertgoers to join him in 30-minute discussion about "Music of the French Cathedrals" prior to the performances on December 5 and 6. He welcomes listeners, introduces the concert program and answers questions at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and 2:15 p.m. on Sunday.


Concert tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door, in advance from choristers or at the Bennington Bookshop. Student tickets, $10 with valid student ID, are available at the door. The Dec. 12 concert in Putney is not ticketed. All concert venues are wheelchair accessible.

About the concert program

"Music of the French Cathedrals" includes "Phèdre Overture" by Jules Massenet, Francis Poulenc's evocative "Gloria" and Gabriel Fauré's gorgeous "Requiem." The concert repertoire provides a full and immersive acoustic experience for the audience that celebrates both the lush harmonic language and masterful orchestration of each composer.

Manson conducts the BCCS and both guest ensembles as part of his work as director of music at The Putney School. This collaboration of musical forces and community resources, drawn from across the region, is central to the vision of Manson's artistic work with the Choral Society and in general.

About the guest soloist

Soprano Eleanor Macchia, of Philadelphia, has performed for Elly Ameling, Dalton Baldwin and Martin Katz, and has appeared with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Germantown Oratorio Choir, as a featured soloist with the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra, and with the Germantown Concert Chorus in such works as Handel's "Messiah," Mozart's "Requiem," Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" and Massenet's "Marie-Magdeleine." She has served on the faculties of institutions including Philadelphia's Germantown Institute for the Vocal Arts and Wissahickon Center for the Arts.

About the music director

Now in his second season as music director for the Bennington County Choral Society, Cailin Marcel Manson concurrently serves as director of the Germantown Institute for the Vocal Arts, artistic director and conductor of the Germantown Concert Chorus and the Germantown Choral Festival and director of music at The Putney School.

The baritone and conductor is a Philadelphia native who has toured major concert venues throughout the United States, Europe and Asia with many organizations as a performer and master teacher. Manson studied vocal performance at Temple University, then opera performance and orchestral conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg. Manson has held positions as artistic director and conductor of the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra, music director of the Vorarlberger Musikfest, music director and conductor laureate of the Chamber Symphony of Atlantic City, chairman of vocal studies at the Hazleton Conservatory for the Performing Arts and as a member of the voice faculty of both the Napoli School of Music and Dance and the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary. He is a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians and the Conductors Guild.

About the BCCS

The Bennington County Choral Society is a mixed adult chorus of voices drawn from southern Vermont and nearby New York and Massachusetts communities. Its aims to foster an environment in which chorus members coalesce as a group and develop as an ensemble, with the goal of growing musically through weekly rehearsals and performances that are a source of pride and pleasure.

The Choral Society is open to all ages and singing/reading abilities and performs two concerts each year. Auditions are not required to join. Members are expected to bring a love of singing, and are asked to pay dues of $35 per concert or $60 per season. Information: