About

Founded in 1975 as the Bristol Choral Society, the Bristol Chorale is a non-auditioned, volunteer community singing group comprising men and women from the Greater Bristol area. We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that presents two major performances a year, generally in May and December.

The Bristol Chorale is an adult choir; members must be at least 18 years old. Among our singers are accountants, nurses, musicians, teachers, students, retirees, and young and young-at-heart professionals from many businesses.

The Bristol Chorale is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, all but two of whom also sing in the group.

Mission Statement

The purpose of our organization is to provide musical activities and performances involving amateur and professional musicians for the cultural advancement and enjoyment of the general public.

Staff

Rich Theriault, Bristol Chorale’s musical director, has been a music educator, conductor, and performer for over 55 years. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Western Connecticut State University. The Chorale has benefited greatly from its 14-year association with Rich as a talented singer, assistant conductor, and musical director. Under his baton, the Bristol Chorale has presented annual winter and spring concerts as well as various other performances for the Bristol community. The group has performed with the Travelers Chorale at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and recently collaborated with the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble for a musical tribute to our country’s veterans. Rich has been a guest conductor and adjudicator for numerous regional music festivals sponsored by the Connecticut Music Educators Association, musical director of the 102nd Army National Guard Band, the 2013 recipient of the ACE Award for contributions to art and culture in the Bristol community, the 1993 Teacher of the Year in the City of Bristol, and musical director of the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble. A professional saxophone player, Rich frequently performs with jazz ensembles and big bands. He is married to Jane Theriault, accompanist for the Bristol Chorale, and Bristol is home for the gifted couple.

Roberta taught elementary vocal music for Bristol Public Schools for 37 years, during which time she helped to direct and co-conduct the districtwide honors choir. In 2017 she was adjunct professor of music education at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School. After retiring from public school teaching, Roberta volunteered for the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) elementary honors choir and Northern Region Middle School, as adjudicator and vocal judge liaison. She serves as choral accompanist for schools and choirs throughout the Farmington Valley, Central Connecticut, and Manchester. She is the former assistant director for Main Street Children’s Choir in New Britain and interim training choir director for Chorus Angelicus. Roberta is delighted to be working with the Bristol Chorale, and we are fortunate to have her.

The Bristol Chorale is fortunate to have Jane as its accompanist. An organist at St. Frances de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Bristol for 30 years, Jane has accompanied many local high school and middle school choirs and community theatrical productions. She has also taught piano privately for many years. In her varied career, Jane was a financial manager for the General Electric Company. She currently owns and operates an independent accounting and bookkeeping business, specializing in not-for-profit organizations. Jane is a past recipient of the Bristol PLUS Award. Her volunteer efforts include serving as an officer of the Bristol Symphony Orchestra; treasurer of CONCORA; director of Amplify, Inc.; director of the Bristol Family Center; and member of the Main Street Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Jane has two grown daughters and lives in Bristol with her husband, Rich.

A lifelong resident of Bristol, Linda has been a certified nurse aide serving the community for 47 years. As the backbone of the Bristol Chorale, she spends countless hours prepping, cataloguing, distributing, and collecting music. She is the first one to arrive and the last one to leave our rehearsals. Linda also sings with the St. Ann Choir in Bristol.

Executive Board

Born and raised in Bristol a very long time ago, Betsey’s love of choral music began in high school. She sang with the original Bristol Choral Society in the late 1980s and early ’90s, (rejoining the group, our current Bristol Chorale, in the winter of 2019, just before the pandemic brought us to a screeching halt. Betsey joined the board at the request of then interim president Dawn Heller and has enjoyed learning everything it takes to keep the group running smoothly. Her greatest joys have been getting to know our members on a more personal level and becoming a part of the chorale family. Betsey and husband Gary of 38 years have one son and two beautiful granddaughters.

Pam has always loved to sing. From singing in church and high school choirs to singing with the radio in the car, music has always been close to her heart. It makes her feel good, and she hopes that Bristol Chorale music makes others feel good, too. A member of the group for over 20 years, Pam has made so many friends and knows firsthand how much the group gives back to the community through its music. A native of Bristol, Pam has been employed by the Town of Plymouth for over 30 years and currently serves as its tax collector. She has one daughter and is blessed with two beautiful grandchildren. In addition to singing, Pam enjoys cruising with family and friends, line dancing, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Jena has been volunteering in the Greater Bristol community for most of her life. In addition to serving as secretary of the Board of Directors of the Bristol Chorale, she has been volunteering with the United Way of West Central Connecticut for over 20 years. Jena is a lifelong performer. She has sung at community events and venues that include the OM Show, Illuminations, ACE Awards, Imagine Nation Museum, and Webster Bank Carol Sing. As part of her 30-plus–year career at Cigna, Jena has been a speaker at several regional client and health-related events, in addition to being featured in podcasts and educational videos. Leisure hours find Jena going to the beach, reading, and spending time with her husband, three grown children, and six grandchildren.

Diane Read earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Hartt School of Music and continued her education by studying accounting at Central Connecticut State University. She is presently a partner at Palmer Latko Ledas Page, LLC, a CPA firm in Avon, Connecticut. She lives in Bristol with her husband, Kevin. Diane has been singing with the Bristol Chorale since 2003, serving as our treasurer since 2006.

Board Members

Pat is program manager for Be the Light Ministry. A follower of Christ, she is also leader for the L.B.C. Kids program at Liberty Baptist Church in addition to being a member of the Bristol Chorale Board of Directors. Married to William Cathcart for 12 years, Pat has three children and is blessed with eight grandchildren. She loves to cook and bake, but most of all, to help and give to others in the community.

Anne has been a member of the Bristol Chorale as an Alto II since 2002. She has three adult children and lives with her husband, Roman, in Bristol. Anne retired from the Bristol Board of Education in 2022. She was a librarian at Mt. View School and several other local elementary schools for 22 years. Before that, she was a substitute teacher in Bristol and other school districts. Additional career choices for Anne have included being a stay-at-home mom and a research analyst for the State of Connecticut Division of Special Revenue.

Donna joined the Bristol Chorale in 2003 while under the direction of Ken Ferris and Sally Kish. Her husband, Jim, served as president of the original Bristol Choral Society for five years, and both truly loved singing and traveling with the group. Music has always been such an important part of Donna’s life, as it brings so much joy to us all. She has also sung in her church choir. Retired after working in the dental field for more than 30 years, Donna is the mom of four amazing married sons, thanks to whom she has many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Aside from their human family, the Doucettes have two beautiful collies and two cats. Other joys for Donna include walking, decorating, sewing, and traveling, especially to the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, where she loves to just sit on a rock and watch the sea sparkle.

A member of the Bristol Chorale since 2015, Joanie was elected to our Board of Directors in 2023. Her passion for singing has led her to participate in various groups since grammar school. For Joanie, music is like fresh air: you have to breathe it in frequently. She has learned so much about music from Bristol Chorale directors over the years and finds great pride and gratification in knowing that our concerts reach the heart of the community.

Kathy joined the original Bristol Choral Society in January of 1998. Through the years, singing with the group has come to feel like singing with her own family members, each helping the other. This is Kathy’s second term on the Board of Directors, on which she serves as attire coordinator. Kathy has been a Realtor® with Tier 1 Real Estate for the past six years; in her 25 years in the business, she has been with only one other agency, Roland Dumont. Kathy has loved the opportunity to help hundreds of clients, whether they were first-time home buyers, move-up buyers, downsizing, or moving to other areas. Also gratifying for her is helping families get their older family members into senior housing or helping young people find their first apartment, as well as assisting landlords in their search for qualified tenants. For Kathy, sometimes it’s enough just to educate a client to prepare for the process in the future.

Marylou has been singing with the Bristol Chorale for more than 10 years. She has been involved with musical groups throughout her education as well as in church choirs. Marylou was a past member and served on the Board of Directors of the Repertory Theatre of New Britain, which merged with Bristol Theatre Arts to create the Connecticut Theatre Company, still located in New Britain. Professionally, Marylou has been a registered nurse in the healthcare arena for over 45 years. She is currently carving out her next path in life: retirement. Whatever paths Marylou has already traveled and whatever she explores in the future, singing has been and will continue to be her constant companion. It lifts her soul and spirit, she says, and she is, simply, happier while and after she sings.

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