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Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 at Saint Paul's on the Hill, 40 Ganung Dr, Ossining, NY 10562.
On a Sunday in the fall of 1970, a nurse from Phelps Hospital named Ruth Buzalski attended a service at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Scarborough. After the service she asked the organist if he would be willing to volunteer to direct a group of hospital workers and volunteers in a small chorale. Their conversation was the official beginning of the Old Mill Singers.
On a Tuesday evening, shortly after this meeting, the group that was to become the Old Mill Singers met for the first time. There were eight people. Over the next several weeks, this small group prepared a short Christmas program to be performed for the staff party at Phelps and for the patients.
After the holiday season, Leroy Brown, the hospital administrator, suggested that the group continue to try to grow. A recruitment drive began and in late January, the group began rehearsing for a spring concert. Over the spring, the group grew to 25 members, and in May 1971, The Phelps Arts Society presented its first public concert. During the next few years, the group grew to more than 30 singers and performed two public concerts a year.
In 1974, North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow), celebrated its bicentennial, and the Phelps Arts Society was asked to prepare the centerpiece show for the celebration. For this special event, the group grew to over 50 members and “A Dutch Treat” was presented on three nights to a combined audience of 1600 people. The desire to be a more community-oriented organization led the group to change its name to the Old Mill Singers. In addition to performing two concerts a year, the group wanted to reach out to nursing homes and special care facilities in the various communities represented by the members.
Since 1974, the group has grown in numbers, with many members from surrounding communities. We do our primary fund-raising through our Winter and Spring public concerts and through membership dues. We also perform mini concerts throughout the year for nursing homes, retirement communities as well as special community functions.
The group is dedicated to several basic ideals: community service, our community within the chorus, having fun, and learning new and challenging music. We view ourselves as a very open group in that the only requirement for membership is the ability to sing in tune. More than seventy percent of our members do not read music.
We have come a long way since the very beginning and will continue to grow.
We are an adult choral group with a variety of singing skill levels. Many of us do not read music. So if you love to sing and you can carry a tune in a bucket, give us a try.
Photo by Lisa Sorensen
Nell Macdonald is passionate about choral singing, and is delighted to join the Old Mill Singers for their 50th season. Since 2015, she has directed the Scarborough Singers, a women’s chorus that performs locally. She is also the artistic director of the a cappella ensem
Photo by Lisa Sorensen
Nell Macdonald is passionate about choral singing, and is delighted to join the Old Mill Singers for their 50th season. Since 2015, she has directed the Scarborough Singers, a women’s chorus that performs locally. She is also the artistic director of the a cappella ensemble Sing We Enchanted which she founded in 1994. For the past several seasons, she has directed the Kendal Chorale at the Kendal-on-Hudson senior residence. For the past fifteen years, she has directed children’s choirs at the Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns and previously was the youth and children’s choir director for five choirs (K-12) at the Reformed Church of Bronxville. In addition, she was also an Associate Conductor with the Children’s Aid Society Choral program for three years, and was Assistant Minister of Music at the Memorial Community Church in West Harrison.
Nell has appeared in solo cabaret shows and recitals in the New York area and in Europe. Favorite off-Broadway productions include an original production of Pride and Prejudice (Mrs. Bennett), Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), and Evita (Evita’s Mother). Nell has sung oratorio roles with the TreasureHouse Chora
Nell has appeared in solo cabaret shows and recitals in the New York area and in Europe. Favorite off-Broadway productions include an original production of Pride and Prejudice (Mrs. Bennett), Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), and Evita (Evita’s Mother). Nell has sung oratorio roles with the TreasureHouse Chorale and Orchestra, and operatic roles with the Hudson Lyric Opera Company. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Hudson River Quartet, the Northern Westchester Symphony, Rockland Symphony Orchestra and other NY-based orchestras.
Nell has been teaching voice for over twenty years, producing annual cabaret shows, open mic shows and Broadway reviews. Her private students have been chosen in national ACDA competitions, All-Nationals (NYSSMA), as well as prestigious vocal arts summer programs, musical theatre college programs, and traditional conservatory arts programs. Former students have gone on to become musical theater singers and directors, singer/songwriters, touring band musicians, and opera singers.
Nell studied piano with Robert Levin in the prep division at the Manhattan School of Music, with Seymour Fink in the piano department at Binghamton University, and she received a BFA in vocal performance, magna cum laude at the Purchase Conservatory at S.U.N.Y Purchase. She lives in Ossining with her daughter Elizabeth and her husband Dave who is a professor of music at Manhattan School of Music.
Gary loved to listen to classical music and had a special fondness for performing and conducting Broadway show tunes.