Should you have had the great fortune to attend the Fairfield Arts Center’s Artist of the Year celebration yesterday evening at the First Church Congregational in Fairfield, you would have been treated to forty minutes of pure choral bliss as the Fairfield County Chorale presented a concert commemorating its Artist of the Year designation. Deftly led by conductor Eugene Sirotkine, the program included works by Bach, Mendelssohn and Beethoven finishing off with the latter’s dual piano version of Choral Fantasy which took the attendees for a heart thumping, harmonic ride with Sirotkine leading a full scale charge on the keyboard.
The Artist of the Year award is given annually to an individual chosen from the fields of visual, performing and literary arts whose commitment to their chosen art form has transcended the mores of conventional mediocrity while simultaneously provoking the collective consciousness of its observing audience. This year, and for the very first time since the award’s inception in 1976, Artist of the Year was bestowed upon a group, not a single individual: the esteemed Fairfield County Chorale.
Championing the appreciation of choral music and its associated literature, the Chorale, who is in its 49th season of programming, has played the best of Hayden, Bach, Mozart and Stravinsky to a rapt and global audience. In addition to performing internationally, the group has been featured at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and presents three concerts a year at the Norwalk Concert Hall in Norwalk, CT.
In a town known for its enviable trove of cultural resources, Saturday night’s performance by the Chorale not only united the community in a centuries-old tradition of song, but further cemented the organization’s legacy and underlying commitment to the broader enrichment of our society. Last night, with the crispness of autumn in the air and the stars shining brightly overhead, the Town of Fairfield took special pride in the gleaming jewel that is the Fairfield County Chorale.