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November 23, 2005


The Monmouth Civic Chorus received a $5,000 grant from the Frank & Lydia Bergen Foundation to support the group’s April 1, 2006 concert entitled Four Pianos and a Wedding. The concert features four grand pianos and eight percussionists in two vibrant choral works by musical geniuses of the 20th century. Stravinsky’s Les Noces (The Wedding) is a haunting and passionate work that combines hypnotic Russian chant with the explosive sound of four pianos and a breathtaking array of percussion. Also on the program will be William Walton’s dazzling oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast, in a new four-piano arrangement, which the Chorus commissioned from a talented young Monmouth County composer, Raphael Fusco, a recent award-winning graduate of the Mannes College of Music.

“The program draws on two primal sources of musical energy — singing and drumming,” said Chorus Artistic Director Dr. Mark Shapiro. “Those who love singing, and those who love rhythm, at all levels of sophistication, will discover a fully realized art music that connects instantly to something basic and gloriously human,” he said. The concert is at 8:00 p.m. at the Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, New Jersey. Tickets are $30 and $25, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups.

The Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation was created in 1983, pursuant to the wishes of their daughter Charlotte V. Bergen (1898-1982) of Bernardsville, New Jersey. During her lifetime, Charlotte Bergen presented and conducted over fifty concerts of fine, traditional music in Carnegie Hall, to which the music-loving public was invited free of charge. The Foundation perpetuates Miss Bergen’s love of classical music as a performing art and her support of musical education.

The Monmouth Civic Chorus under the baton of Dr. Mark Shapiro has been called “close to perfect” by the Asbury Park Press and “alluring… magical… ideal” by The Star-Ledger. The Chorus has sung at the cathedrals of Vienna, Florence, and the Vatican, and by invitation at Carnegie Hall and with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Dr. Shapiro is on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York and the European-American Musical Academy at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. For further information, call (732) 933-9333 or visit