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Pleasant Valley Chorale Director Susan Hughes Retires After 100th Concert

The Social Center extends a huge thank you to Susan Hughes for her amazing run as the Pleasant Valley Chorale Director since 1997. She will direct her 100th and final concert,  “This Land is Your Land: A Celebration of American Folk Music”, on June 2 at the Essex Community Church and June 4 at the Elizabethtown Social Center.


Susan describes the singing group as “an ensemble of the people, for the people.  We don’t hold auditions, which keeps it on an amateur level so everyone can be part of it, but we still work hard at the music.  It’s a great way to expand your singing abilities and to make new friends.”


The Chorale presents new programs of music twice a year.  Choosing the music selections has been “the best part of the job” for Susan. She selects music that she and the singers love. Selections from Broadway musicals have been favorites, including concerts celebrating the careers of composers such as Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Richard Rogers, and Stephen Sondheim.


Elizabethtown Social Center Director Arin Burdo says  “Susan has brought so much to the Chorale over the years.   It’s part of our core mission to bring people together and we appreciate that the Chorale is available to everyone who wants to sing.”


Susan credits the Social Center with founding and nurturing the group.  “When Joe Wyant retired from his position as music teacher at ELCS in 1986, then-Social Center Director Carol Pennell convinced him to begin a community chorus.  To this day, the Center sponsors the program.”  Susan also credits the Choir’s accompanists, Kerry Mero and Mary Lu Kirsty, for the success of the Chorale.  “Kerry and Mary Lu have truly been co-Directors and I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with both of them.”


About her approach to directing, Susan says  “When you are leading a volunteer group, it’s important to make it fun for people.  If it’s not fun, they won’t get involved.”


She notes that the Chorale, with 20-25 members, is still rebuilding from COVID and she encourages people to give it a try. “Singing in an ensemble is one of the most wonderful things you can do.  It reduces stress, improves mental health and memory, and it’s a great way to express yourself.  It boosts your confidence.


The Social Center is seeking a new Director for the Pleasant Valley Chorale.  The position includes a stipend.  To apply contact


 “This Land is Your Land: American Folk Music”  Performances:


Sunday, June 2 at 3 pm  at Essex Community Church, 2306 Lakeshore Road, Essex


Tuesday, June 4 at 7 pm at Elizabethtown Social Center, 7626 US Route 9, Elizabethtown

Concerts are free. Donations accepted.


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