Christmas Eve at Church of Heavenly Rest's Traditional Concert

NEW YORK CITY, NY (December 18, 2012) Internationally acclaimed dramatic soprano Beverly Hill will share her joy and vocal talents once again at The Prelude to Christmas Concert at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest located at 2 East 90th Street (90th and Fifth Avenue) in New York City. The pre-service concert begins at 10:30 p.m. followed by the annual Christmas Eve Festival Holy Eucharist at 11:00 p.m. Ms. Hill, who has become one of the favorite performers at the annual event, will sing Geistliches Wiegenlied (Spiritual Lullaby) with viola by Brahms and Wiegenlied by Max Reger. Other church soloists include Tawnya Popoff, viola, Andrea Reichenbach, Jacquelyn Penfold, sopranos; Erin Kemp, mezzo soprano, Victor Ziccardi, tenor, Joshua Jeremiah, baritone.

“It is a great joy to again take part in this annual holiday celebration and to share the wonderment of the season with family and friends,” says Ms. Hill. “It’s also gratifying to know that church members and visitors look forward to hearing us each year so that we, the singers, have become part of the tradition.”

Also known for her humanitarian interests, Ms. Hill has partnered with the church in other endeavors. Having founded an organization named in honor of her parents, The Grover and Lula Mae Hill Choraliers, for which she helps provide scholarship opportunities for children ages seven to 13, she brought a group of children from Milledgeville, Georgia to sing at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, offering them an extraordinary opportunity to see New York City and sing at this noted place of worship.

She continues to imbue the young members and their families with her enthusiasm for community leadership, healthful living habits and performance opportunities. She is also a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity, lending her voice to the organization’s fundraising efforts through concerts. Such efforts have earned her recognition from a number of advocacy groups.

Known for her dazzling performances of opera, oratorio, and motivational music, Ms. Hill has garnered worldwide applause and praise for her performances with an array of prestigious opera companies. Hailed as the “talk of the town” upon her Vienna debut, Ms. Hill has also taken other cities by storm, with performances in opera festivals such as with the Kammerensemble Berlin, Kitzbuhel Opera and More Televised, Gala Festival in Salzburg, the Richard Wagner Society in Vienna and as the first American soprano to sing with the historic Shaliapin International Opera Festival in Kazan, Russia. She has also made guest artist appearances at the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Richard Tucker Metropolitan Opera Stars Gala.

For additional information, visit www.heavenlyrest.org, email info@heavenlyrest.org, or call (212) 289-3400.

Grover Lula Mae Hill Choraliers

(March 2004)
Habitat For Humanity and opera singer Beverly Vanessa Hill. Although at first glance it may seem the two would have little in common, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Hill, who was raised in Milledgeville, says she's supportive of "anyone that's doing things to elevate the community and people in need." Habitat is dedicated to providing decent, affordable housing in partnership with those who lack adequate shelter. Suddenly, the connection seems more credible. The Macon and Milledgeville chapters of Habit for Humanity are having a special "Home Sweet Home" fundraiser concert as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon. The event will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 22 at the Grand Opera House. Money from the concert will benefit both Habitat chapters.
Hill, the principal dramatic soprano with the Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble in New York, will be the featured artist. Gerald Steichen, a conductor with the New York City Opera will accompany her on piano. Tickets are $30, and may be purchased two ways, either by calling the box office at the Grand Opera House at 478-301-5461 or by visiting a special website www.thegrand.mercer.edu. Once at the site, click on the "Buy tickets here" link and look for "Home Sweet Home."
Hill, however, is bringing more than her own operatic talents to the concert. She's bringing The Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers with her. The Choraliers, named in honor of her parents, are a concept that Hill uses to promote her ideas of enriching communities by bringing diverse groups of people together in song. Just as Habitat builds each house out of new materials, Hill builds the Choraliers out of local talent found at each venue.
For the Habitat concert, the Choraliers will consist of about 60 first- through sixth-graders from the Martha Bowman United Methodist Church in Macon and children from Flagg Chapel Baptist Church in Milledgeville. "The Choraliers are an effort not only to reach out in a musical way, but to cross barriers of communication," Hill said. "The more you travel and get to know people the more you realize that we're much more alike than we are different."
Singing together has many benefits, she said.
"They're learning to sing together, they're learning to breathe together, they're learning to think together. That means you have a rhythm of togetherness."
Hill has planned the concert for months, blending an eclectic selection of classic opera and other musical pieces, plus spirituals she learned in her living room in Milledgeville. She begins the concert with Handel's "My Redeemer Liveth," a story of the biblical passion, hoping to educate concertgoers to the fact that the retelling of the passion story did not begin with Mel Gibson's recent movie. Other selections include works by Wagner, Verdi and Puccini. The Choraliers will sing "a couple of 'up' pieces," according to Hill, and then she'll sing the spiritual, a continual favorite of New Yorkers.
Milledgeville Habitat executive director Harold Tessendorf said within 30 minutes of his first meeting with Hill in Macon last week, "She basically knocked me over." He wasn't sure what to expect, he said, thinking perhaps he would be meeting an opera singer with an opera-diva ego to accompany her. Such was definitely not the case.
"She's an amazing person," Tessendorf said. "She impressed me with her combination of passion, commitment and dedication. She sees music as the vehicle to bring things together. Her vocation is obviously not to just go out and sing opera."
Hill hopes that the connections forged between the children singing, between the community and Habitat, will continue as a legacy left behind by the Choraliers.
"We all need to be aware that we all live and breathe the same air. We want the same things from life - housing, food, family, love, and whatever our religious preferences are. Once you really start to breathe and work together, which music allows us to do, so many barriers come down because you really see the superficiality of it all."

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(March 2004)
World-renowned musicians perform in Habitat for Humanity benefit concert

Dramatic soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill will perform at this year's Cherry Blossom Festival in the "Home Sweet Home" concert. The diva has exhibited her extensive repertoire in venues throughout the states, Austria, Italy and Russia. Ms. Hill, a Milledgeville native, will be accompanied on piano by Gerald Steichen, conductor at the New York City Opera. The duo will perform a variety of classical and scared musical numbers along with other favorites. The Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers and a choir of local children will also perform as part of the concert. All proceeds from the "Home Sweet Home" concert will benefit Macon Area Habitat for Humanity and Milledgeville/Baldwin County Habitat for Humanity. Both Habitat for Humanity affiliates are dedicated to the mission of eliminating substandard housing in their communities. Habitat builds houses primarily with volunteer labor to keep costs low. Then, Habitat sells the houses to approved families with an interest-free mortgage. A family gives 300 hours of service, helping to build their house and other Habitat houses as a "down payment." These Habitat affiliates build throughout Baldwin, Bibb and Jones counties. The average cost of a Habitat house is $43,000, well below the market rate of a comparable house. The "Home Sweet Home" concert will be held at the Grand Opera House Monday, March 22, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the venue for $30 each. Each ticket purchased brings a family closer to the dream of homeownership. For more information on the long-term benefits Habitat for Humanity provides to families and to the community, or for biographical information on the performers, contact the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity at 478-784-6800 or visit www.maconareahabitat.org. The contact details for Milledgeville/Baldwin Co. Habitat for Humanity are (478)453-9617 or email habitatforhumanity@alltel.net. Our website address is www.mbchabitat.org

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(April 2005)
Last leg of opera Peace Tour coming May 15 Local singers will participate with soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill

Opera soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill and the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers performed in the First International Arts Festival and Peace Tour in February. In May, they're coming to Milledgeville to stage the last concert of the 2005 Peace Tour series. Hill, the dramatic soprano for the Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble in New York, is a Milledgeville native who never has forgotten her roots, and returns frequently to promote music, community and togetherness. Hill is in town now to promote the May 15 Choraliers' concert, which is set for 3 p.m. at the new auditorium at Georgia Military College. The event will include singers from First United Methodist Church, Second Macedonia Baptist Church, Union Baptist City Church, Green Pasture Baptist Church, and GMC middle schoolers. The Choraliers, named in honor of Hill's parents, are a concept that Hill uses to promote her ideas of enriching communities by bringing diverse groups of people together in song. Hill builds the Choraliers out of local talent found at each venue. Hill's Peace Tour included four different performances in February, including concerts at the Church of Saint Catherine and Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. "Convent Avenue Baptist Church is a cornerstone church in Harlem, one where all the politicians go to get elected," Hill said. "It's very well known, and our concert there was televised." For St. Patrick's Day, Hill sang for New York governor George Pataki, and was interviewed on Irish radio as well. At each event Hill spoke about the Peace Tour - and about Milledgeville. "I was able to talk about the Choraliers, what our mission statement is, what we're doing, and about our concert on May 15 in Milledgeville," Hill said. "I've talked to politicians. I've talked to Sen. Edward Kennedy; I've talked to Congressman John Lewis in Atlanta. People are excited about this." Wade Elkins is the director of music for First United Methodist Church and will be the director of the Choraliers in May. Each group of singers has been given the music and are already practicing, he said, and will get together shortly for a few rehearsals before the concert. "I think it's a very honorable thing to teach our children how to work together," Elkins said, "and you're teaching them that through performing, through raising money and having a goal in sight, and coming together from different cultural and racial backgrounds. They learn to put those aside and just work together as people and create music, which is glorious." Puerto Rican baritone Rafael LeBron will be the guest artist at the May concert, and he and Hill will perform a duet from Aida. The Choraliers will sing two songs, a gospel piece and an Israeli piece in Hebrew. The concert is more than a concert, however. It's a fundraiser as well. Hill is looking for support for the Choraliers so they can perform in concert in 2007 at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, which is located on Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In 2008, she wants to take them to Europe. Established in 1995, the Choraliers have been privately funded, which usually meant that the money came from Hill. With the three Rs - respect, restraint and responsibility - emphasized among them, Hill sees the Choraliers not only as a chance for local singers to learn unity and a sense of belonging to mankind as a whole, but as a chance for local businesses to support praiseworthy ideals among local youth. "While the Choraliers have the responsibility of being responsible for their art.their future.for being entrepreneurs and raising money, they'll also have the umbrella of knowing that their community supports them," Hill explained. "They'll be free and able to experience the world in a different way."

For a box:

There are sponsorship opportunities with the Grover and Lula Mae Memorial Choraliers that range from $50 and up. Each level of sponsorship has special benefits. All donations are tax deductible. The May 15 concert is being supported by the Magic Circle Repertory Ensemble, Inc., a 501 c3 not-for-profit corporation. Checks should be made payable to the Magic Circle Opera for full tax advantages. Locally, checks may be sent to the Convention and Visitors Bureau (200 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville, GA 31061). Call the CVB at 478-452-4687 for more information.

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(May 2005)
The halls of the First United Methodist Church were alive with the sound of music Sunday as practice continued for the upcoming Milledgeville concert featuring opera soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill and the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers in the First International Arts Festival and Peace Tour. Hill, the dramatic soprano for the Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble in New York, is a Milledgeville native. Wade Elkins, music director at FUMC, is directing the Choraliers in this concert. The Choraliers, named in honor of Hill's parents, are a concept that Hill uses to promote her ideas of enriching communities by bringing diverse groups of people together in song. Hill builds the Choraliers out of local talent found at each venue. The event will include singers from First United Methodist Church, Second Macedonia Baptist Church, Union Baptist City Church, Green Pasture Baptist Church, and Georgia Military College middle-schoolers. Puerto Rican baritone Rafael LeBron will be the guest artist at the May 15 concert, and he and Hill will perform a duet from Aida. The Choraliers will sing two songs, a gospel piece and an Israeli piece in Hebrew. Tickets are $8 for adults.

For a box:

Who: Beverly Vanessa Hill, Rafael LeBron and the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers What: First International Arts Festival and Peace Tour When: May 15, 3 p.m. Where: The Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts in Georgia Military College's new academic building

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(May 2005) Peace tour concert unites voices, hearts in song

Those people who were smart enough to attend last Sunday's First International Arts Festival and Peace Tour Concert walked away with much more than they came with. They were given a glimpse of what the future of Milledgeville can be when our children are set free from the forces that still divide us, and allowed to exist in a world that honors restraint, respect and responsibility. Dramatic opera soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill was joined by Puerto Rican baritone Rafael LeBron and the Grover and Lula Mae Memorial Choraliers in a concert in the Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts at Georgia Military College. The Choraliers were made up of children from First United Methodist Church, Second Macedonia Baptist Church, Union Baptist City Church, Green Pasture Baptist Church, GMC and the city of Sparta. "The children are amazing. They were very well behaved, very respectful, and they worked hard," said Wade Elkins, director of music at First United Methodist Church and the director of the choraliers for the concert. "They listened and they responded. Today they just came alive, and that's what is so rewarding and so wonderful to be a part of." Hill not only sang several pieces in the concert, she sang the praises for the children as well. "The children are dreams. They are the most dedicated, the most disciplined children," Hill said. Hill took a group of the choraliers to perform on WMAZ television on Saturday, and said the children gathered in the parking lot at 6:45 a.m. to rehearse. After traveling to Macon, performing, then returning to Milledgeville, the young singers rehearsed for another hour before Hill took them to McDonald's for a special treat. And every single one of them, Hill said, came up to her and thanked her. "How can we not support these children with every ounce of our being?" Hill asked. She is seeking community support to take the choraliers to perform in New York City in 2007 and to Europe in 2008. "This is our future. This is our peace. This is our community. I am totally optimistic and I totally believe in Milledgeville." Haylee Chambers, 10, a choralier from the Methodist Church, is hoping to travel to Europe with Hill. "I liked singing mainly because I liked meeting Beverley Vanessa," Chambers said. "She's very kind and loving. She taught us how to loosen our voices, and that one person can't do it all and that we all need to work together." Unity among the children was very apparent as they sat in the audience awaiting their turn to perform onstage. They were the living example of what Hill strives to impart with her group that she named in honor of her parents: restraint, respect and responsibility. There were no boundaries among them as they sat patiently, nor as they took to the stage, their voices uniting in song and reaching out to the hearts of the audience. Dr. Richard Mercier, who provided the piano accompaniment, said that the event was "very exciting" because it not only touches the musical side of Milledgeville but also touches "right into the community." The opportunity for the children to work with international professionals and to see that there are many opportunities outside their local boundaries made Mercier feel fortunate to have been asked to participate. "It opens up their minds to greater possibilities and gets them excited about something that's really very vital and can change their life for the better forever," Mercier said. "To see their eyes begin to glow as they begin to have their moments of singing is really touching." LeBron commended Hill on her courage in bringing the project to fruition, and holding on to her lifelong dream. "It is not easy to be a pioneer, and it is harder sometimes to try to change mentalities than it is to face the rough winds and seas of uncertainty," LeBron said. "I believe her effort is already a success, but the audience is the determining factor. Music is the universal language. With the integration of music styles, cultures and ethnicities, maybe we can bring about a harmonious change in the society of man."

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(July 2005)
Children thankful for choralier experience

Six children from Second Macedonia Baptist Church participated with the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers in their recent concert with Beverley Vanessa Hill. They had something special to say about the experience.

"I just wanted to say thank you for choosing me to be in your group. I enjoyed making friends and performing on 13WMAZ. I just wanted to thank Mr. Wade for helping us understand Hebrew and helping us with the song. I wanted to thank Mrs. Beverley Hill for performing with us and buying us McDonald's. I also wanted to thank all of the parents that helped us with the song and everything else that had to do with the song." Love, Ajoya McCormick

"What I like about being a Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choralier is that I get to sing, to be on television, and to meet new people. Most of all, I got to meet opera soprano Beverley Vanessa Hill and baritone Rafael LeBron. I enjoyed working with Wade Elkins, Marcel May, Dr. Richard Mercier, Gloria Davis, Nessie James, my Mom and all of the children. My favorite part of being a choralier is singing. I forgot to say that we would be traveling, sharing and learning while we sing. Thank you to all of the sponsors who helped Ms. Hill's dream come true for our community." Brittany Lee-Adams

"What I liked about being a Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choralier was the chance to play the tambourine and to sing songs. I loved singing the song Do-Di-Li as well as the song Open the Flood Gates of Heaven. I want to be an example to other kids. I also want to be famous just like Ms. Beverley Vanessa Hill and go all over the world. And that is what I like about being a choralier." Charneshia Wheatley

"I enjoyed singing with the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers this year. I learned how to play the tambourine, and to sing opera. I got to be on Channel 13WMAZ News. I got to sing with a famous opera singer named Beverley Vanessa Hill. I had so much F-U-N. I can't wait until we sing again." Marquiet James

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(May 2008) Young singers to perform in New York on Father's Day

Father's Day will be a particularly special occasion for a group of local children as they will board buses for a trip to New York City. The ten children are members of the Grover and Lula Mae Hill Memorial Choraliers and they will be singing at The Church of the Heavenly Rest on Fifth Avenue on June 15, due to the efforts of Beverley Vanessa Hill. Hill is an accomplished opera singer residing in New York who has never forgotten her Baldwin County roots. In 1995 Hill established the Choraliers, named in honor of her parents. The group is a concept that Hill uses to promote her ideas of enriching communities by bringing diverse groups of people together in song. Hill builds the Choraliers out of local talent found at each venue. In May 2005 Hill brought together young singers from First United Methodist Church, Second Macedonia Baptist Church, Union Baptist City Church, Green Pasture Baptist Church, and Georgia Military College Prep to perform in the First International Arts Festival and Peace Tour at the Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts. The ten children traveling to New York next month are members from that group. The trip has taken a bit longer to come to fruition than originally planned because Hill suffered a particularly complicated broken ankle just weeks after the 2005 concert. She never lost her vision, however, and remained dedicated to fulfilling the promise she made to the children of a trip to New York. During the 2005 concert the Choraliers sang two songs, a gospel piece and an Israeli piece in Hebrew. This year the children will be joined by the children's choir of The Church of the Heavenly Rest to present "Amazing Grace" and "Be Thou My Vision." During their trip to New York they will visit the Church of the Blessed Sacrament and the Park Avenue Synagogue. Hill sees the trip as much more than a chance for budding vocalists to strut their stuff. "I am doing this so they can have the experience of diversity and of thinking outside of the box," Hill said. "Not only will they see different venues and be able to perform, they will learn the importance of leadership and teamwork, and of being exposed to different languages and artists of different backgrounds." While in New York the children will be hosted to lunch by arts supporter Ruth Jody. In addition, the children will visit museums, the Central Park zoo, Ground Zero, NBC, Chinatown, Little Italy (where they will have a pizza party), and will cruise around the city.

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Beverley Vanessa Hill, Dramatic Soprano
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Milledgeville, Ga
The Beverley Vanessa Hill Choraliers ages 7-13 sing with Beverley Vanessa and guest artist Rafael LeBron , Baritone. This is a Benefit Concert for the GLMHM Choraliers hosted by the Milledgeville Community, Georgia Military College and The Magic Circle Opera . Soloist
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