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Music Maker

New Alumni Chorus director builds on strong choral heritage

By Kristen Walsh

Regis Today Spring 2017

The Regis Alumni Chorus and GleeSingers sang the National Anthem at a Celtics gamein April.

The Alumni Chorus recently welcomed a new director, Elizabeth Smith, PhD, ’04. Smith took over upon the September 2016 retirement of Sheila Grace Prichard, a longtime favorite conductor who founded the program in 1993.

“I’m excited to bring in new ideas with regard to style and repertoire selections while also continuing to preserve the heritage of choral excellence Regis is known for,” Smith says of her role. She is particularly excited about new compositions. This year’s spring concert will feature mass movements composed by Smith along with Director of the Glee Singers and the Chamber Singers Heather Josselyn-Cranson, ThD, OSL, associate professor of music and Sister Margaret William McCarthy Endowed Chair of Music; and Douglas Anderson, Instrumental Ensemble director.

“The choir members are excited to sing music written especially for their voices,” Smith says. “The chorus is also evolving to have a greater role for men’s voices, and we are blessed to have our talented piano accompanist, Paul Huberdeau, step in to sing bass when needed.”

The name change from “alumnae” to “alumni” came in 2015 when the chorus went coed after Joe Osborn ’13 joined the choir. Smith embraces how the group is ever-evolving. She enjoys experimenting with new performance venues and forms; for example, the Alumni Chorus performed at its first sporting event this spring—a Boston Celtics game where they sang the National Anthem with the Regis Glee Singers. She is also committed to continuing to emphasize the CSJ theme of service.

“Service is an important part of the identity of Regis, and bringing the gift of song beyond the borders of our campus to the far reaches of the world is an important part of what we do.”

The next Alumni Chorus tour is to Florida in 2018, which will involve singing at Disney World, in a retirement community, for Regis alumni and friends in Naples, and at a high school recruiting event in Fort Lauderdale.

“…bringing the gift of song beyond the borders of our campus to the far reaches of the world is an important part of what we do.”

—Elizabeth Smith, PhD, ’04

Voices Unite

Alumni Chorus singers range from newly graduated members of the Class of 2016 to members of the Class of 1950 to members of the CSJ community and “everywhere in between,” according to Smith. The program is also open to the broader Weston community. Connections among members go beyond music.

“After graduating and joining the Regis College Alumni Chorus, I immediately felt at home,” says Niki Del Giudice ’13. “Even though the group varies drastically in age, I have experienced the great sense of community that Regis students are familiar with. I have never seen a group with so many members having such closeness and intimacy.”

Betsy Burns Griffin ’66 has been a chorus member for more than a decade. “I have stretched and strengthened my voice thanks to rigorous work on music I never would have sung in any other circumstance. I have also gone on three great trips, singing, touring, and getting to know undergrads and alumni in ways I never would otherwise. I experience a strong emotional and spiritual connection to Regis through the chorus; I feel confident that I am welcome and belong as I haven’t felt since I graduated in 1966. It’s a great feeling.”

High Notes

Smith is not new to the world of music at Regis. As an undergraduate, she sang with the Glee Club and Chamber Singers, co-led the music ministry program, and rang in the Handbell Choir. She was Prichard’s assistant conductor from 2004 to 2014.

“My love for music stems from my experience of music as praise,” Smith says. “I believe if I am doing them right, studying theology and making music amount to the same thing: praise. I’m fortunate to be doing it in this new role here at Regis, a place I have called home for so long.”

And for those who haven’t yet discovered a love for singing?

“Many people say they can’t sing,” Smith says. “As a matter of fact, everyone can sing; it’s just that some people haven’t realized it yet. But it’s never too late to change that, and there’s no better place to do that than with us.”

Alumni Chorus rehearsals are held Mondays from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center room 201. Drop by or email

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