Northern Harmony chorus comes to Mt. Airy on winter tour

Northern Harmony, a polyphonic chorus from New England, entertained an attentive crowd Friday night at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Mt. Airy. The group was brought to Mt. Airy by Weavers Way Co-op and is part of their two-month winter tour.

The renown chorus thrilled the audience with a wide range of sounds from several world singing traditions such as American shape-note music, American gospel and jubilee quartet music, as well as folks songs from Bulgaria, Georgia, Corsica and South Africa. Several of the performances included accompanying acoustic instruments including the banjo, acordian, violin, drum and Bulgarian tambura.


Every year and a half, the chorus brings together the most talented and experienced vocalists from the Vermont-based Village Harmony world music organization for a concert tour, said Larry Gordon, Director of Northern Harmony.

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The 13-member group, including Gordon, just returned from touring England. Northern Harmony will play in Baltimore next and continue on to other East coast cities before heading to Colombia at the end of the month.

Attendees were given their own chance to sing together with Northern Harmony. Numerous folks also joined several of the vocalists for a Bulgarian folkloric line dance down the church aisle. Janet Tebbel, a local musician, said she was very impressed with how well the vocalists harmonize with each other. The jubilee songs were her favorite part of the concert, she noted.

Mt. Airy resident Betty Ann Fellner who once was a choral singer herself, was also blown away by the way the chorus blended voices.

“You never hear any voice out of order. They really modulate and play as one voice,” she remarked.

Fellner’s concert companion and local resident, Deborah Schwartzman, agreed. “It was magical,” she said.

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