‘MOZART IN MAY’ The free collaborative Choral Concert by the Methuen High Chorus and The New England Classical Singers will be May 19, 3pm at MHS’ Arthur Nicholson III Auditorium. They will be accompanied by a string section and a professional orchestra. Visit the MethuenLife Facebook page for a video from a recent rehearsal.


Methuen High School chorus students will be performing Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” and “Vesperae solennes de Confessore KV339″ in collaboration with distinguished choral group The New England Classical Singers on Sunday, May 19 at MHS’ Arthur Nicholson III Auditorium

“These kids have taken it very seriously,” said NECS’ Artistic Director David Hodgkins, who has been leading the group for over 25 years.

Founded in 1968, NECS is based in Andover. Its members hail from the Merrimack Valley and beyond. Part of their mission is to work with high schools, giving students an opportunity to work with and learn from the artists and director. 

Now in their second year working with Methuen students, Hodgkins adds, “Our previous school’s music program sort of dropped off due to COVID, but we wanted to stay in the Merrimack Valley, so Methuen was a great choice for us.”

Methuen resident and NECS member Mandi Edgerly raves about the kids’ involvement in this ambitious undertaking.

“I wish we had even more students participating, because we really enjoy working with them,” she said, adding, “They really hold their own, and these kids have been at school all day, have homework, and then they come here ready to sing!” 

At rehearsal, students Shantae Paulino, Maribelle Spiridon and Doro Cesar show up, immediately take their seat in their section and get right down to business, opening their music books and singing along. 

“It’s hard, but it’s fun,” admits Shantae, her counterparts nodding in agreement.

Maribelle, who grew up in Lebanon, says, “There were no musical programs for me to join there, but now I get to do this and I love it.”

Doro adds, “Oh my God, I can’t wait to perform this with the orchestra!”

Under the watchful direction of Hodgkins, the group runs through each piece section by section, perfecting each nuanced note and pronunciation.

“Finding the right pitch is always an adventure,” jokes Hodgkins, after one particularly challenging section.

Hodgkins then directs the singers to sing in unison and the intricate notes and tones come together in the most beautiful, goosebump-inducing waves of sound.  

The group, accompanied on piano by Methuen High School Chorus Director Ben Woodward during rehearsals, will be performing with a string section for the first half, then a full orchestra for the second half of the May 19 show. 

  “It’s wonderful to see this group of volunteer singers mentor the kids. The whole collaboration is really wonderful,” beams Hodgkins.