The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble, led by conductor Andrew Benware, front row, far right, is the latest offering by Hill and Hollow Music, a nonprofit organization based in the town of Saranac.
Saranac Though Hill and Hollow Music has been out of the public eye for the past few years, that hasn’t meant the nonprofit organization has been resting on its laurels, says director Angela Brown.
“We took a hiatus at the end of 2009 from presenting concerts and regrouped to start a new program about a year ago, offering a quiet, rural retreat for artists,” said Brown.
The retreat, she said, has been offered for the past year at Weatherwatch Farm in the town of Saranac’s backcountry, giving artists a place to “recharge their batteries in the beauty of the Adirondack.”
“It’s been a place where artists can come and work without distractions in a quiet setting that’s under the radar,” said Brown, referring to the group’s 370-acre farm.
During that time, however, plans to bring together the musical talents of people from across the North Country have formed and resulted in what is now known as the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble, said Brown. The ensemble, conducted by Andrew Benware, director of choral activities for Saranac Lake High School, is “a mixed chamber choir of professional and amateur singers, all of whom bring extensive previous choral experience to the group,” said Brown. The ensemble’s 20 members represent “a cross-section of the region, hailing from points in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties.”
“Andrew is a wonderful conductor who grew up in Malone. He’s known and loved by a lot of people,” said Brown. “And, the ensemble is made up of people from all over — Plattsburgh, Champlain, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Keene Valley, Peru — all over.”
The ensemble, also commonly referred to by its acronym, NAVE, has been rehearsing regularly for its two inaugural performances of “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” which members will perform next month in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid.