A Brief History of the Kent Singers
The Kent Singers, founded by Jon Lafleur, first performed in December 1973 before an audience in Kent, CT. The group gives concerts in New Milford, Kent, and Washington, CT.
This amateur group has maintained a high standard of excellence in the performance of the classical choral repertoire. Significant early performances include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Jon Lafleur in 1992; Vivaldi’s Gloria; the commissioning and first performance of Epitaphos by American composer Gerald Near; the presentation of Handel’s Messiah with the Fanfare Consort with early instruments; and a concert of music by Connecticut Composers, including a 2002 CD recording on Capstone Records.
The group continues to evolve and refine its sound, performing works large and small, accompanied and a cappella, exploring the rich tradition of early music, Baroque, Classical, and modern music.
The group has been professionally directed since its founding. Most recently, it was directed for several years by Mark Brooks, culminating in the 2012 performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria . Matthew Travis, now music director of the Midland Center for the Arts in Bay City, Michigan, directed the Kent Singers from 2013 to 2017. In January 2017, the group welcomed a new musical director, Knox Sutterfield, who conducted the Mozart Requiem in June, for the Kent Singers “Summer Great Works” series, at St. John’s Church in New Milford.
The Kent Singers typically perform concerts in December and in the spring. In recent years, and a “Summer Great Works” concert in June, which is held in New Milford. We welcome former Kent Singers and other local singers to join us, to sing alongside renowned professional soloists and orchestral players. In June 2012, the Kent Singers performed the Fauré Requiem in a joint concert with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, led by John King. In 2013 we performed Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation and Mendelssohn’s Elijah in 2014. Since then, we have performed several of the great choral Requiems, and most recently, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, with period instruments.
Members come from as far as New Milford and Southbury to the south, Woodbury to the east, Sharon to the north, and Pawling, NY, to the west; the majority are residents of Washington, New Milford, Kent, and the immediately surrounding towns. We will be welcoming new members in all four parts for the 2019-2020 season, with rehearsals starting up after Labor Day.