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Interview with Richard Larraga

by Pam Kyrka
September 3, 2017

Exsultet – a women's chorus founded and led by Richard Larraga. The name brings to mind “exalt”, meaning “to praise, to fill with joy”, something this group, entering its fifth year, does through its music.

In a recent interview, Richard shared some information about the group, why he chose to start it and where he hopes to take it. Richard said he always wanted a choral group separate from his job as Minister of Music at the First Congregational Church in town. The group performs a variety of music at a high level. Sometimes the performance tells a story through music and acting. One performance paid tribute to Ann Talbot, a long time member of the Holliston community. Richard stressed that education and community outreach are also an important aspect of the group.

The singers come primarily from Holliston, Millis, and Medway, and include teachers, stay-at-home moms, and financial and computer workers. Their musical backgrounds vary, too, ranging from voice majors and singers with formal training to women with no musical training. What binds them together is a love of music. Richard said that the group is cohesive and very supportive of each other. Singers with experience help those with less formal training and experience. Right now the group consists of four first sopranos, five second sopranos, and six altos, with an opening for a first soprano. Richard said 16 singers is the maximum number because if the group is too large, personality gets lost.

The group does face some challenges, however. They are at a “tipping point”. They are becoming known, but are not large enough to be able to hire full time people to advertise, promote concerts, find venues, or write grants. Right now group members themselves take on those functions. Richard said that private donations do help with one donor giving $2,500 to help fund the December 9th performance.

When I asked Richard what he loves about conducting, he surprised me. He really loves rehearsing more than the actual performances. Rehearsals give him joy as he watches a piece come together. “As one sings pieces more than once, they get into your bones, become a part of you.” He then said that with rehearsals, the group keeps on improving, but then only gets one shot at a concert. “Concerts,” he said, “are just snapshots of where we are in our development.”

The following are performance dates. Come be a part of an “exalting” evening with Exsultet.

Visit their website at www.exsultet.us for more information, to
purchase tickets, and subscribe to their upcoming season."

The Season 5 concerts are:

December 9th- Wellesley Village Church

March 3rd – “Potpourri” – First Congregational Church Holliston

May 19th – “Scotland the Brave” – FCC Holliston.

 

 

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