Under the masterful direction of Artistic Director David Hodgkins, New England Classical Singers is an auditioned choral chamber ensemble of 30-35 voices. Founded in 1968 as the North Reading Choral Society, NECS is now based in Andover, MA, drawing its members from communities of the Merrimack Valley and beyond.
NECS opens the concert season in early December with its annual Messiah Concert, performed with chamber orchestra and guest soloists. Concerts in late winter and early spring, respectively, consist of repertoire that spans the Renaissance to the present and ranges from a cappella madrigals, partsongs, and American spirituals to major choral works. Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College serves as NECS’ main performance venue.
New England Classical Singers is dedicated to the enrichment of the human spirit through its pursuit of choral excellence and educational outreach.
Collaboration and educational outreach have been cornerstones of NECS’ mission since its inception. Its most notable outreach program is its joint collaboration with the Lawrence High School Girls Ensemble under the direction Nancy McGhee, and the Catherine McCarthy Memorial Trust, which provides major funding for the outreach program. NECS also partners with the North Reading School System, providing its students the opportunity to serve as interns in the development of publicity and promotional materials. New England Classical Singers is proud to be a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium.
In celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Andovers in 1996, NECS commissioned and premiered Voices of Rememberance by Kenneth Seitz whose text is derived from poems by local poets Anne Bradstreet, Henry Henderson Clark, and John Greenleaf Whittier.
NECS released its first CD, entitled A New England Classical Christmas, in 2009.
In celebration of the 50TH anniversary of its founding, NECS commissioned Merrimack by Ron Perera in 2018.