By Nancy Reardon
MethuenLife Writer

Happy Hearts Music Director Susan Riccio has dreamed of having her chorus sing at the majestic Methuen Memorial Music Hall for many years. That dream finally came true last month when the Methuen Senior Activity Center singers performed their holiday concert, “Christmas Time in Methuen” in this landmark location.

The acoustics in the historic music hall echoed with their beautiful array of Christmas songs, wowing the 280 guests who attended the concert. Guests sang along with the music and gave the chorus a rousing standing ovation!

The Happy Hearts Chorus consists of 43 singers ranging in age from 51 to 99 years old. Special guest singers were Methuen Fire Lt. James Garrity along with Brendan Murphy who sang “Joseph’s Song” with his dad Colin, a Happy Hearts member.

Organist Randy Steere, a member of the hall’s Board of Trustees, opened the concert playing the “First Noel” on the stunning historic organ.
Masters of Ceremony were Deputy Police Chief Randy Haggar and the city’s Health and Human Services Nurse Kelly Townsend. There were surprise visits from both Santa and the naughty Grinch.

Violet Jessel, the eldest member of the chorus at 99 years young and dressed as one of Santa’s elves during the song “Santa Baby,” laughed joyfully while entertaining the crowd as she sat beside Lt. Garrity during the song.

“Let There Be Peace on Earth” ended the show, with the chorus fanning out among the crowd and greeting concert-goers by shaking their hands in peace.

Nonperishable food donations for local food banks were requested as admission to the concert. The food was gathered by Laurie Joslin, Richard Pelich and Jazmin Nunez who work for the city’s Health and Human Services Department.

Riccio was thrilled to have this extra-special item on her wish list fulfilled and said, “I want to give special thanks to Ashley Haseltine, Music Hall director, and Meaghann Jackson, Music Hall Trustee, and the City of Methuen for allowing this concert to happen. As well as everyone who donated food for local food banks.”