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Acclaimed Music Director Keeps County's Oldest Chorus In Tune

Frank Nemhauser, music director at the Westchester Choral Society.
Frank Nemhauser, music director at the Westchester Choral Society. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Like many lifelong musicians, Frank Nemhauser's love of music began at a young age. 

"I had piano lessons when I was a small boy and played trumpet and joined the chorus in high school while growing up in Croton-On-Hudson," said Nemhauser, Westchester Choral Society's music director. "I really enjoyed singing and meeting other people interested in music." 

After attending college for music and studying voice and conducting, he began to sing in a variety of choral groups and professional ensembles across the region. It wasn't until 11 years ago that happenstance allowed him to lead one of the county's premier singing groups.

"The Westchester Choral Society (WCS) was looking for someone to help prepare a performance and they asked me to come help," said Nemhauser. Impressed by his work after the concert's successful run, the group offered him the director position full-time. "I guess they liked what they saw and they asked me to come back for good." 

Currently celebrating its 76th anniversary, the WCS is the county’s longest continuously performing chorus. Being a group comprised almost entirely of volunteers is what initially struck Nemhauser about WCS, as well as the dedication and skill of these part-time singers. "You have people who go through their workday and come out, want to work hard and sing," he said. "The people are terrific and they love what they’re doing. Their enthusiasm is infectious."

However, the chorus is more than just a feel-good time, and meets once a week to sing everything from contemporary pieces to classical numbers. "Part of my job is to choose a repertoire that people want to sing and that keeps things interesting," said Nemhauser. 

The enjoyment that comes from the group's singing isn't limited just to choir members; each year WCS performs several concerts for music-lovers across the county. "For the general public, we put on concerts of really terrific music and do it very well," said Nemhauser. "We have a loyal following of people who come and enjoy great music." 

Ultimately, Nemhauser and the Westchester Choral Society look to ensure that the chorus continues singing for decades to come. "Every generation produces a new crop of singers and we want to provide a home," he said. "Anytime we add to the arts, we’re adding beauty to the world."

In addition to leading WCS, Nemhauser also serves as music director for the prestigious Berkshire Choral International and is both director of vocal studies and associate professor at Mannes College of Music in New York. 

For more information on the Westchester Choral Society, click here.