Musical Notes

A Newsletter from Music Worcester

To our readers,

Music Worcester is back! I hope you all were able to sample our inaugural Summer@MW series these past few months.  We had a wonderful time exploring new venues in and around Worcester, welcoming to Worcester a host of artists whose initial engagements had been cancelled due to the pandemic, and offering several programs free of charge to the Greater Worcester community.  Next summer will have more in store, as we now are operating as a year-round presenter.

The upcoming 2021-2022 Season promises more enjoyment and inspiration. We begin at The Hanover Theatre on Saturday, October 2 with Dorrance Dance, an acclaimed tap dance company who will be exploring dance and music (yes, live musicians too on stage!) with their SOUNDspace program.  Please visit the website for full details on the entire season, as we expect to forgo the usual brochure right now until we have a better sense of attendance expectations.  

Finally, I must emphasize how thankful we are here at MW for being able to have remained active over the past 18 months.  Your support, contributions, and attendance at virtual or recent live events has overwhelmed us and allowed MW to avoid shutting down. 

Adrien C. Finlay
Music Worcester Executive Director
endowed by the McDonough Charitable Foundation

Your support makes our season possible. Donate to Music Worcester anytime.

Summer@MW In Review

July 13, 2021: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet with pianist Taylor Eigsti in concert at the Riley-Pappas Pavilion in Auburn, MA

July 22, 2021: The Hot Sardines at Indian Ranch Amphitheatre in Webseter, MA

July 25, 2021: Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester, MA

August 5, 2021: The Worcester Chorus Women’s Ensemble directed by Mark Mummert at the Riley-Pappas Pavilion in Auburn, MA

August 8, 2021: Boston Brass at Cristoforo Colombo Park in Worcester, MA

September 10, 2021: The Concert Truck with bassoonist Joy Guidry at Hillside Complex in Boylston, MA

The musicians visited schools all week and provided free concerts. Check out some of the news coverage we received.

The 2021-2022 Concert Season

CLICK HERE to see what’s coming to Music Worcester’s 2021-2022 Concert Season

From the Board of Directors

Music Worcester and its Board of Directors are forever grateful to Bonnie Johnson, Kenneth Prince, Karen-Louise Walker, and Margaret Wong, who chose to join our board at this most unusual time.

Click below to read more about each of this season’s new board members:

The Music Worcester Board of Directors

Bonnie Johnson

While music is my first love, data is my love language! Hailing from Worcester, I have had a twenty-year career in the fields of data science, technical product management and design at Broadridge Financial Solutions and Clean Harbors Environmental Services.

My community impact with non-profits has included serving as producer and host of the weekly Colors of Jazz on 90.5 WICN, the advisory council at JazzBoston, vestry at All Saints Church Worcester, and the multicultural committee for the board at Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

I’m proud to be named in Radio Ink Magazine’s “Future African American Leaders in Radio” list in 2019 and with the Boston Multicultural Symposium’s “Champions of Action and Integrity Award” in 2021. Most recently appointed chair of the programming committee at Music Worcester, I look forward to amplifying my voice as an advocate for arts and culture.

Kenneth Prince

As a mechanical / materials engineer (UNH & Brown Universities) I have worked in research and development, and manufacturing engineering for Norton Co. in Worcester and Gillette Co. in South Boston I have sung in choruses since high school except for a short period while pursuing graduate degrees and starting my career. I have been a member of the bass section of the Worcester Chorus since 1978 where I have held a number of administrative positions including president, vice-president, treasurer and special fundraising.

Karen-Louise Walker

One might say that professionally my career path has been quite eclectic. I earned my undergrad degree in therapeutic recreation and a minor in education. My early career focused on working with people who have cognitive disabilities, then years later I became the Assistant EEO Administrator for a state agency, after which I left to pursue my M.Div. degree, as an ordained clergy eventually became the Executive Director of the Council of Churches of Western MA and now I am in Development. When one takes a second look, the common thread is about the well-being of people and promoting the good for and about people.

Margaret Wong

I arrived in Worcester from the West – Wyoming via California and Texas – in 1992 and had the great good fortune to sing with the Worcester Chorus under the direction of Dr. Gerald R. Mack for many years. I am currently a Professor of English at Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), where I have been teaching Literature and Composition and making sure Music and the Theatre Arts are part of the QCC experience since 2000. I am also currently President of the Massachusetts Community College Council, the labor union representing 6000+ faculty and education professional staff who are employed in the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges. Having served on the Boards of several non-profit organizations, including Mechanics Hall, the Masterworks Chorale, and the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, I look forward to working with the Board members of the Worcester Chorus.

Spotlight On: Lisa Hackman

Director of Operations for Music Worcester

Lisa Hackman recently became the full time Director of Operations at Music Worcester. We were lucky enough to hire Lisa part-time in 2019 as she led us through a very difficult 2020 year.

We caught up with Lisa recently to learn more about her:

Lisa Hackman
Music Worcester Operations Director

Read our Interview with Lisa

-Tell us about your career prior to Music Worcester. 

I graduated from Millikin University in Decatur IL in 1996 with a BFA in Theatre (emphasis on Directing) and a Minor in Music.  I moved to Chicago and co-founded a theatre company called Will Act For Food that operated from 1997 until about 2009.  When not producing and directing at my own company, I worked at many theatres in Chicago in Stage Management, Wardrobe, Props and backstage run crews.  I joined Blue Man Group in Chicago as a part-time Stage Manager in January of 1999.  Blue Man then promoted me to full-time Stage Manager and moved me to the Boston show in September of 2000.  I became the Production Stage Manager for Blue Man Boston in June of 2006 and then became the PSM Representative for all of Blue Man Group in 2015 and had the opportunity to work in all the US Blue Man Group cities to support the local PSMs and streamline operations across the country.  In addition to running the Blue Man show in Boston, I ran numerous gigs with BMG including performances at Gillette, Fenway Park, TD Garden, with the Boston Pops and countless television opportunities.  While in Massachusetts I was also a freelance director and directed Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along, Company, Six Degrees of Separation and Deathwatch.


-What is your role like? What is the day-to-say like?  

Every day presents a different challenge.  Some days it is a lot of computer and phone time to prep and advance the concerts.  During the concerts, you can usually find me backstage working as a stage manager to get the artists on the stage on time, or out in the front of the house video directing our livestreams.


-What do you like to do in your spare time?  

Lately, I have been reading a lot of plays and have found a few scripts that I am hoping to produce and direct in the next two years.  When not working on concerts and theatre, you can find me outside working in my large vegetable garden, or in the kitchen whipping up creations from all of my home-grown produce.

-What have been some of your favorite Music Worcester concerts so far?  

I love the diversity of performances that Music Worcester brings to our patrons, but my favorite concert so far was when we brought Lawrence Brownlee to a very small audience this May.  This was my favorite because it was our first show with an audience since the pandemic began.  Feeling the love and support in the theatre from our patrons after such a turbulent year was incredibly rewarding.



Last summer, Music Worcester and The Worcester Chorus lost a dear friend. Anne Schneider was a longtime Chorus member and Music Worcester office volunteer. She volunteered at Abby’s House, was an avid skier and, before retirement, was a real estate investment analyst. She left behind her loving husband Peter, three children and eight grandchildren.

In her will, Anne bequeathed support for Music Worcester.

Anne’s estate gift makes future programming possible. If you are interested in learning more about bequests and the Music Worcester Legacy Society, please contact Kate Rafey,

Anne Schneider

Gratitude Corner 


We want to thank YOU. For keeping us going, for believing in the power of music, supporting educational opportunities and the Worcester Community – because of you we stand strong!

As a small token of appreciation, we wanted to make sure you saw some of the fantastic content produced in 2021. Below, we have links for your entertainment.

Our own Artistic Director Christopher Shepard of The Worcester Chorus created a video about Mozart’s Requiem called “Tapestry.”

College of the Holy Cross Professor Meghan Ross taught a community-based learning course on Requiem as well, “Requiem Reflections from the Worcester Chorus.”


And finally, Music Worcester hosted its annual Young Artist Competitions. Orchestral and vocal students at the junior and senior levels competed for cash prizes. This was the first time we held the competition via online video submission. Our winner was violinist Ashley Kim. You can view her winning video, Shostakovich’s Prelude for violin & cello below. We also have an interview you can read with Ashley.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much for supporting us during these unusual times.

Yo-Yo Ma, 2019
Music Worcester’s 160th Anniversary Gala at Mechanics Hall

Read our Interview with YAC Winner Ashley Kim
How long have you been playing?

I’m a rising junior in high school. I’ve been playing violin for nearly 12 years!

Why did you choose the piece of music you played – what makes this a favorite, musically interesting, challenging, etc?

First of all, I would like to thank my brother, Andrew (cello), and my mom, Ms. Lim (piano), for making the Music Worcester video with me! I’m so lucky to be surrounded by music and passionate musicians every day.

Together, we decided to play Shostakovitch’s Prelude for Violin, Cello, and Piano. Intertwined with the piece’s simple melody are worlds of meaning and feeling. It speaks of melancholy and tragedy, loneliness and nostalgia… We thought it was a very moving piece. The melody has a way of tugging at your heartstrings and sneaking into your feelings. It presents a series of technical challenges as well. Because of how the parts of the violin and cello are nearly identical, we had to make our instruments sound like one voice. To do this, we had to vibrato at the same rate, harmonize perfectly, and change bows at the exact same time. We also had to make sure that we understood the music the same way by discussing each note: How should each note swell by itself, how should it fit in with the rest of the phrase, and what does it contribute to the overall message of the piece?

The piece is really a family favorite, and I often find myself humming it during my day.

What are your future plans?

As a teenager still in high school, I don’t have my eyes dead set on a specific career yet, or even a specific major or minor in college. However, I firmly know that I would like to use my strengths in a positive way to truly impact the world and help others.

In high school, I hope to continue exploring my strengths, weaknesses, and my hobbies. Then, in college, I hope to prepare myself to step out into the big world, ready to make a difference in my field.

Currently, my interests lie in music (of course!), engineering, statistics, and community service. I find myself gravitating towards things that challenge me and allow me to channel my creativity.

Ultimately, in the future I hope to continue to think big and pursue my passions.


What is the most interesting/exciting/inspirational thing that has happened as a result of your music? Opportunities to play in new places?

With different groups? Music surely has gifted me the opportunity to meet amazing people, connect with my community, and see some amazing cities and concert halls. I love to perform for seniors in nursing homes and to speak with them afterwards- it’s so moving how much they appreciate music. Last year, I spent six months organizing a charity concert at my school. I recruited nearly 40 volunteers, and we ended up donating all the revenue (several hundreds of dollars) to help the biodiversity and indigenous people suffering from fires in the Amazon Basin. It’s amazing what an impact music can have on the world. As both a soloist and orchestra member, I’ve also had the chance to experience different cultures, explore amazing cities, and play in their concert halls, such as the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Musikverein in Vienna, and Mechanics Hall in Worcester!