Ossining's Old Mill Singers Performing At ClearView School

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- For more than 40 years, the Old Mill Singers have been bridging the gap between old and new.

The Old Mill Singers will be performing at the ClearView school in Briarcliff this weekend.
The Old Mill Singers will be performing at the ClearView school in Briarcliff this weekend. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Old Mill Singers

The Ossining-based choir will be performing at the ClearView School in Briarcliff Manor on Friday, May 30, Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1. Friday and Saturday's performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday's performance will be a 3 p.m. matinee. The performance will be the final one for long-time director Gary Bratt.

The group originally performed at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center and now performs all over and is a big hit at nursing homes. The Old Mill Singers perform classical pieces and popular hits.

"We don't require auditions," Victoria Slater, a member of the group, said. "We just hope people can sing a tune and are comfortable singing in a group."

Slater, who has been in the Old Mill Singers for 15 years, said she always wanted to sing, but she was too timid and shy to do a formal audition for a group.

"It's really nice," Slater said. "You can be part of a chorus or take more of the spotlight. We have a lot of fun."

The group performs songs like "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and other American standards, but also performs contemporary pieces like "Hey Soul Sister," "Get Lucky" and "Viva La Vida."

"I enjoy singing them," Slater said. "It's not something I usually listen to, but it is opening up my eyes."

Slater said she enjoys performing at the nursing homes the most.

"You put a smile on their face," Slater said. "They are always so pleased when we are able to come."

Brand, who has been director for 38 years, said he is retiring to spend more time with his family. Brand is the musical director at St. Theresa's Church in Briarcliff. Bratt is turning over the job to Danny Gray.

"I'm sad I'm leaving," Bratt said. "I'll miss the people, but I don't think I'll miss the work. I am putting the group in good hands. I will go see them and help out wherever I can."

Bratt said he is most looking forward to the group performing Get Lucky. 

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