Philharmonic Society of Arlington
Arlington-Belmont Chorale
2016 – 2017
Membership Guide


The Philharmonic Society of Arlington, Inc. (PSA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community organization made up of three performing groups which are organized and operated by the volunteer members.  During the performance season these groups perform both separately and cooperatively.  The PSA season begins in September, immediately after Labor Day, and runs through the Pops Concert followed by the PSA’s Annual Meeting in June.

Annual Meeting:  This year’s Annual Meeting of the Corporation will be on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, with a 6:00 p.m. potluck dinner followed by a 7:15 p.m. business meeting at the First Parish Unitarian-Universalist Church, 630 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington.

Additional information about the organization and the performing groups can always be found on the PSA website,  The password for the “Members’ Resources” section is given out orally to members at rehearsals

Arlington-Belmont Chorale (ABC)

No formal audition is required for membership.  Each new singer will be given a simple vocal evaluation to determine pitch-matching skills and voice part placement.

Musical Leadership

Music Director:  Barry Singer
Assistant Conductor:  Sarah Telford
Accompanist:  Michael Becker

Chorale Officers

Chairpersons:  Judy Tesnow and Dorothea Rees
Vice Chairperson:  To Be Determined
Librarian:  Jack Connors

Section Leaders

The conductor selects section leaders and announces them during rehearsal early in the season.  They keep track of attendance and share rehearsal notes with members who miss a week.

Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus (ABCC)

The Chamber Chorus is a subgroup of the Chorale.  All members of the ABCC must also participate in the ABC.  Formal auditions, required for the Chamber Chorus, are conducted early in the season by the conductor.  Members are selected based on sectional need and vocal ability.

Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra (APO)

No audition is required for membership, however the Music Director determines instrumental seating.

Musical Leadership

Music Director:  Orlando Cela
Concert Master:  Nicole Parks

Orchestra Officers

Chairperson:  Adam Dixon (bassoon)
Librarian:  Jim Battell (trombone)

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of members from both the Orchestra and the Chorale, as well as members of the non-performing public.  For the 2016-2017 season the Board members are:

President:  Jack Connors (ABC)
Vice President:  Hagop Hagopian (ABC)
Treasurer:  Christine Jensen (APO)
Clerk:  Alice Adler (ABC)
Librarian:  Larry Kyrala (APO)

Adam Dixon (APO)                 Sandy Reismann (APO)
Abigail Gertner (ABC)            Pam Ross (APO)
Kristin McAdams (ABC)        Ernest Sabine (At-Large)
Lynne Montross (ABC)          Gary Seligson (APO)
Fred Moses (ABC)                   Eleanor Smith (APO)
Jean Nagle (At-Large)            John Taylor (At-Large)
Stacy Webber (At-Large)
APO – Orchestra member        ABC – Chorale member
At Large – Indicates a non-performing member of the PSA

Chorale Membership

The Arlington-Belmont Chorale is an approximately ninety voice chorus which is open to all singers.  Our repertoire includes well known and little known masterpieces of the choral literature.  We are a community drawn together by music.  Producing the highest quality performances for our audience requires that Chorale members participate fully to facilitate a smoothly flowing concert.

You should expect to:

  • Arrive on time, 7:45 p.m. to rehearsal for warm-ups.
  • Attend all or most rehearsals in order to ensure that our performance is polished and that everyone has all appropriate notes and directions regarding each piece.
  • Obtain rehearsal notes from the section leader if you miss a rehearsal.
  • Perform all concerts during the season and attend all pre-concert dress rehearsals, unless you notify the conductors otherwise.
  • Participate in other Chorale activities to the extent that you are able. These activities include: recruiting new singers and audience members, fundraising, publicity, concert set-up and breakdown, and post-concert parties.

Annual Dues

Annual membership dues are required from all members.  Dues are $100 per individual and $75 for additional family members.  Members who join the Chorale mid-season pay prorated dues.

Dues should be paid at the first rehearsal of the season and must be paid no later than the third rehearsal.  As usual, we will never turn away someone who cannot pay dues because of a legitimate financial hardship.

New Singers

New singers are welcome throughout the year.  You should expect to:

  • Stand and identify yourself so that you can be welcomed
  • Meet with the conductor after your first two or three rehearsals for an evaluation of basic pitch-matching skills and voice-part placement.
  • Sign up for a name tag.

Communications with Members

Information regarding upcoming concerts, rehearsals, volunteer opportunities, and other topics of concern to ABC members is usually communicated during the announcements at rehearsals or through the Yahoo group email list.  The Yahoo group’s URL is  The conductor also sends an email each week with details of the material to be rehearsed the following week.  PLEASE NOTE:  The abchorale Yahoo group is strictly for PSA-related communications or other musical items.  It is not an open forum.

All members are automatically added to the abchorale Yahoo group email distribution list after dues are paid. If you do not receive emails, contact the Chorale Librarian who handles all ABChorale Yahoo group email issues.

Hardcopy contact information for all ABC members is usually available in early October and can be found on the PSA website “Members’ Resources” section.


If you have feedback or suggestions about ABC issues you can use one of the two feedback forms.  Copies can always be found on the back table at each rehearsal.

  • ABC Productivity Observations/Suggestions Form (green). Use for administrative issues or non-musical related concerns.
  • ABC Musical Mishaps Form (yellow). Use for issues regarding music being performed.

Music Policy

Unlike other groups, the ABC does not require its members to purchase their own music.  However, our music is part of our PSA Library and as such it is on loan to members for each concert.  You may take this music home to practice, however we expect members to treat their music with the utmost care.  Music is reused and may not end up with the same voice part the next time it is used by the group.


  • Keep your music in a black binder.
  • Write in pencil any music direction changes specified by the conductor.
  • Write in measure numbers in pencil when requested by the conductor.
  • If not already punched, 3-hole punch your music if authorized by the Librarian.
  • Return your music at the end of each concert. (Should you need to leave the Chorale during a rehearsal cycle, please return the music to the Librarian at a rehearsal or by mail.)


  • Write in pen.
  • Highlight any portion of your music.
  • Cut or separate pages in any way unless approved by the Librarian.



Rehearsals are every Monday evening, including most Monday holidays, from the first Monday after Labor Day through the December Concert and from the first Monday after New Year’s Day through the June Pops Concert.  (The Memorial Day weekend rehearsal takes place on the Tuesday following Memorial Day.)

We begin promptly at 7:45 p.m. for warm-ups, which are not considered optional.  Around 9:00 p.m. we break briefly for announcements and refreshments and then adjourn at approximately 10:00 p.m.


We rehearse at the Park Avenue Congregational Church (PACC), located at 50 Paul Revere Road at the corner of Park Avenue, in Arlington Heights.


  • Wear your name tag during rehearsals. This simple act helps new members feel welcome and allows other members to get to know you.
  • Be flexible. Warm-ups may not always be familiar, seating changes may occur, or changes in voice parts may be needed.
  • If you arrive after 8:00 pm, please wait silently in the back of the room until there is a break in the singing before you take your seat.
  • Practice at home. Practice CDs or mp3 files are frequently made available, and conductors may suggest specific recordings to help with learning a piece.
  • Employ healthy singing habits.
  • Use discretion. If you are sick, please stay home.  If you are better, but still coughing or sneezing, please sit in the back of your section.  Your colleagues will thank you!
  • Leave your troubles at the door. You can pick them up on your way out if you still need them!

Attention and Concentration

Our conductors frequently need to give musical instruction or changes or need to go over specific sections with one voice at a time.  When you converse in your section during this time it is both distracting and disrespectful to the conductors and other singers.

  • Even when voices are lowered, the sound carries in our rehearsal space.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, please limit talking to rehearsal tasks: asking specific questions of the conductors, or the conductors instructing singers.
  • Respect the conductors by not talking when they are speaking, regardless of whether your section is being rehearsed at that moment.
  • Respect fellow singers in all voice sections by not talking unless you are the one asking a question of the conductor.
  • If you must have a conversation with another member, please consider taking your conversation outside the rehearsal room or waiting until our 9:00 p.m. break.

Absences and Cancellations

If you must be absent:

  • Notify your section leader or the Chorale Chair when you have a planned absence.
  • Contact your section leader by phone or email prior to the next rehearsal to find out about music direction changes or other notes regarding music to be sung so that you can return fully prepared.

If a rehearsal must be cancelled due to inclement weather or other unforeseen event, notification will be sent via the Yahoo group email list. The cancellation notice will also be posted on the PSA’s web site home page.


We typically have over eighty members who sing at each rehearsal.  Juice and cookies are made available at the break during each rehearsal.  The task is shared by everyone and all members sign up to bring one or the other for at least one rehearsal during the year.  A sign-up sheet is on the table at the back of the rehearsal space or you can sign up on the PSA’s web site in the Members’ Resources section.  Refreshments needed are:

  • 3–4 half-gallons of juice (including one low-sugar option) and 80+ small paper cups.
  • Cookie servings for 80 (approximately 4 packages).

Set up filled cups in the kitchen at the start of the break.  Wipe the counter and leave the kitchen clean at the end of the break.

Chorale Concerts

Performing is intended to be for the pleasure of the listeners. As such, we strive to have as many concert-goers at each concert as possible.  We are looking forward to increasing concert attendance by encouraging members to invite and bring several people to each concert and to participate as much as possible in all audience building activities.

The Chorale also asks members to help out with supplying food for the Sponsors’ Concert in April and the Pops Concert in June.

Concert Dress

Concert Men Women
All concerts except Pops Tuxedoes or dark suits, preferably black, black bow ties, black or dark shoes and socks. Long-sleeve white blouses or shirts, floor-length black skirts or pants, and black shoes.
Pops Solid bright-colored short-sleeve shirts and black pants. Solid bright-colored short-sleeve blouses or shirts and long black skirts or pants.


At all performances, please do not use any perfume, aftershave, or other scented products.  Women should not wear flashy jewelry.  You do not have to wear concert dress to dress rehearsals.

Concert Schedule and Special Rehearsals


Extra Rehearsal Wed., Nov. 30, 2016 7:30 p.m. UU
Dress Rehearsal Wed., Dec.7, 2016 7:30 p.m. UU
Winter Concert Sun., Dec. 11, 2016 3:30 p.m. UU
Dress Rehearsal Sat., Mar. 11, 2017 10:00 a.m. UU
Spring Concert Sun., Mar. 12, 2017 3:30 p.m. UU
Extra Rehearsal Wed., Apr. 19, 2017 7:30 p.m. UU
Dress Rehearsal Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 7:30 p.m. UU
Sponsors’ Concert

Tuesday Rehearsal

Sun., Apr. 30, 2017

Tues., May 30, 2017

3:30 p.m.

7:45 p.m.



Dress Rehearsal Thur., June 8, 2017 7:30 p.m. TH
Pops! Concert Fri., June 9, 2017 7:45 p.m. TH

Philharmonic Society of Arlington
2016-2017 Season

Concert dates as of date of publication, subject to change.

Concert Schedule

Nov. 6, 2016         APO Fall Concert                                       UU

Dec. 4, 2016          ABCC Not-Quite Winter Concert           PP

Dec. 11, 2016        ABC & APO Holiday Concert                   UU

Feb. 26, 2017        APO Family Concert                                  UU

March 12, 2017     ABC & ABCC Almost Spring Concert    UU

April 30, 2017       ABC & APO Sponsors’ Concert               UU

May 12, 2017        ABCC Music for a Spring Evening          UU

June 9, 2017          ABC & APO Pops! Concerts                     TH

Chorale members are encouraged to advertise and attend Orchestra and Chamber Chorus concerts during the season.  Chorale members may attend all PSA concerts free of charge.

Performance Locations

  • UU: First Parish Unitarian-Universalist Church, 630 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA
  • PP: Payson Park Congregational Church, 365 Belmont St., Belmont MA
  • TH: Arlington Town Hall, 730 Mass. Ave. Arlington, MA next to the Robbins Library

    It seems everyone shops online nowadays.  If you shop on you can save yourself some money and help the PSA at the same time.  When you shop at, the Amazon Foundation donates a percentage of your purchase price to the Philharmonic Society.  More information is available on the PSA web site.