BENNINGTON >> Rehearsals for the Bennington County Choral Society (BCCS) start Feb. 1 for its annual spring concert, "Cries of War, Hopes for Peace."

BCCS is looking for singers to join its rehearsals every Monday evening at 6:45 p.m. at the Second Congregational Church in lieu of performances on May 14 and 15. All singers ages 15 and older are able to join with a $35 membership fee per concert or $60 for the full season, according to a release from the society. There is a show in the spring and the fall.

This spring's concert will feature two 20th century pieces: "Chichester Psalms" by Leonard Bernstein and "Dona Nobis Pacem" by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

"If you come for the first rehearsal and find it's not for you, then that's okay," singer Patricia Gardner said. "Just come and see what it's all about. If you can match pitch and carry a tune, we want you to come and see what we're about."

Voices that make up BCCS come from southern Vermont, nearby New York and Massachusetts communities. It's goal is to musically grow with weekly rehearsals and performances as a source of pride and pleasure.

Gardner said that most singers in the choral society also sing for their church or the Battenkill Chorale. Last year the group was invited to sing the national anthem at the annual Battle Day Parade.

The choral society's director, Cailin Marcel Manson works with the singers during practices and looks forward them each week, Gardner said.


"When we go through rehearsal, he'll teach us how to make it sound right. That's one of the things we really appreciate," she said. "Cailin refers to our rehearsals as his Monday night caffeine. Everyone looks forward to them."

During the spring, there is a competition for the BCCS Music Scholarship that encourages future generations of musicians to practice. Applicants compete in front of a panel of judges for prize money and constructive comment, according to the website. Two scholarships up to $400 are awarded each year.

For more information about BCCS, visit