Andrew Howell debuts as Chorus of Westerly music director

Andrew Howell leads a rehearsal of the Chorus of Westerly at the George Kent Performance Hall.
Andrew Howell leads a rehearsal of the Chorus of Westerly at the George Kent Performance Hall. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

After founding the Chorus of Westerly in 1959 and serving as its music director in the decades since, George Kent retired earlier this year.

On Sunday, his successor picks up the baton.

New Music Director Andrew Howell leads the 190-voice chorus in concerts showcasing two grand cantatas by Benjamin Britten - "Saint Nicolas" and "Rejoice in the Lamb."

Along with the chorus, the shows feature the Boston Festival Orchestra and tenor Zachary Wilder.

Howell actually has a long history with the chorus. He began singing with the group when he was 12. He studied piano, organ, and conducting at the University of Rhode Island, where he earned both bachelor's and masters' degrees.

Howell is also organist and choirmaster at St. James Episcopal Church in New London. He leads the adult choir and coordinates the Music at St. James concert series there. He co-founded the Eastern Connecticut Children's Chorus. He has taught music classes at URI and directs the URI University Chorus.

- KRISTINA DORSEY

Chorus of Westerly, 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday, George Kent Performance Hall, 119 High St., Westerly; $21-$60; (401) 596-8663, chorusofwesterly.org.

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