Carl J. Ferrara, Director
Carl J. Ferrara has been conductor of the Silver Chords for four years; before that, he served as guest conductor. He is also the Music Director for Setauket United Methodist Church, and this summer will serve as Associate Music Director for L.I. Voices.
He has been a music educator for 25 years. He is a member of NYSSMA, SCMEA, and NAfME. Currently, he is teaching in the Amityville School District.
A songwriter and composer, he has written two musicals, several songs and choral works, which have been premiered by the Silver Chords.
His love for his wife, Paula, and daughters, Rachel and Leah, cannot effectively be expressed in a bio in a concert program.
Karl Schwarz, Accompanist
Karl was born at a very young age. After showing musical ability at the age of six, he was forced into piano lessons by his parents. Twelve years of technique and classical and what does he play?.... Rock and Roll!
Starting in grammar school, he studied trombone and played in band and orchestra straight through high school. He was also the band geek who accompanied the choirs in school on piano. Sometime during that period he acquired a copy of the album Chicago Transit Authority and was hooked.
Since 1984,Karl has played "pit piano" for the Broadhollow Theater, various off Broadway productions and the Freeport Community Chorale. He also works as an accompanist for local chorales and singers performing at local venues. He has his own entertainment company, Niteflight Productions, and plays keyboard with the band Uppercut, which he founded in 1989. Karl also has the distinction of appearing on the Today Show with American Idol's Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
A History of the Silver Chords Chorus
The Suffolk County Senior Citizens' Chorus was formed in the fall of 1980. It began as a small Smithtown ladies choral group, but then was expanded by Director Linda Monner to include men and women throughout Suffolk County. The village of St. John graciously donated their recreation center for rehearsals. In April of 1981, the 33 member group presented its first concert, consisting of simple arrangements of songs that they enjoyed singing.
By 1984 the group had outgrown its rehearsal facilities. The Smithtown Town Board offered the Smithtown Senior Citizen's Center for its rehearsals.
In September of 1986, the group adopted the name "The Silver Chords." In 1987, it received an invitation to perform at the official New York State Senior Citizens Day festivities in Albany. There they performed before hundreds of people and were greeted by Governor Mario Cuomo.
The Silver Chords became the proud recipients of the Gerald Farley Award in 1990. It was presented to them by the Suffolk County Senior Citizens Advisory board at their annual All About Aging Conference. In 1992, the Chorus was the opening act for "Rosemary Clooney's White Christmas Party" concert at Westbury Music Fair. The Silver Chords performed on their own as well as with Ms. Clooney and Debbie Boone.
The Chorus received a citation in 1994 from the Town of Islip, recognizing The Silver Chords for 15 years of free concerts. It was presented to them by the Islip Town Supervisor Pete McGowan.
In 1995, Linda Monner stepped down as director. For the next 14 years, The Silver Chords would be led by Director Robert Wochinger who brought his own style, vitality and love of music to the groutp. In 2004, Bob and the Chorus were featured in the Arts and Lifestyle section of the Times Beacon Record.
The Silver Chords honored Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio with a plaque during their December 2009 concert at the Kings Park High School. Supervisor Vecchio has supported the Chords these past 28 years by providing the Smithtown Senior Center as a rehearsal site.
That same year Bob retired from his choral directorship. The third Director would be Spyro Kalas. Spyro started commissioning works by local composers to be premiered by The Silver Chords.
In 2014, Carl J. Ferrara took over as conductor of The Silver Chords. As guest conductor, Carl has welcomed young singers into the group as soloists. In 2016, our youngest full time members joined at the ages of 13 and 14. The Chorus was featured in "Spotlight On..." for Smithtown Public Access. In 2016, The Silver Chords performed at the Beacon Theater in NYC singing with the rock group Guster.
The Silver Chords Chorus is now beginning its 38th year. We look forward to our 40th anniversary coming up in 2020.
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