Battenkill Chorale

Noah Palmer, artistic director
Janet McGhee, founding director

Ranked Best Classical Concert of 2018!


Daily Gazette "Best of 2018"


The Battenkill Chorale’s 2018 performance of Verdi’s Requiem was ranked as the Capital District’s number one classical music performance in the Daily Gazette’s “Best of 2018”

January 22, 2018: The Battenkill Chorale with orchestra and four stellar soloists under director Janet McGhee in a riveting, exceptionally well prepared and prodigiously effective Verdi “Requiem.” Zankel Music Center.

December 30,2018: Geraldine Freedman, Daily Gazette

Photo Credit: Cathy De De




…The Chorale, directed by Janet McGhee, presented a program of variety and depth not often heard in this region…

…Despite the pieces’ varied origins, they shared the same reverent space and were delivered with a cohesive resonance that bordered on the mystical…

…That the choruses were so clean and rhythmically clear, in tune, and balanced so well was definitely [Janet McGhee’s] doing, and made for a very exciting evening…

…The Battenkill Chorale did more than just sing well at its Sunday afternoon concert at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. It showed it could sing over a broad spectrum of styles, from Mozart to the very difficult yet quite wonderful new work by Daniel Pinkham, A Spectacle of Glory…

…I like to think that Mozart himself would have enjoyed the love and talent on display in one venue, a beautiful old church in Greenwich, N.Y., on this Sunday afternoon…

…Inspired performances such as last Sunday’s are a thrill to be a part of…

Review of Haydn (2011)

Battenkill Chorale’s Voices Reach Mystical Heights

The diversity of religious experience knows no bounds. Evidence came in the extremes of musical styles and sentiments presented by the Battenkill Chorale Sunday afternoon in St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich.  The ambitious Janet McGhee conducted.

   Two liturgical works of Rachmaninoff set the feel for the all a cappella first half, which also included recent works of American and British composers. Despite the pieces varied origins, they shared the same reverent space and were delivered with a cohesive resonance that bordered on the mystical…

   Half of Washington County seemed to be in attendance. The tight sense of community within the choir was also in evidence with the opening works dedicated to the memory of recently deceased member Malcolm M. Hopper.

Joseph Dalton

The Times Union

February 1, 2011

Review of Carmina Burana (2010)

A thrilling event took place at the Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs Saturday night: a massive 300-voice collection of choirs singing Carl Orff’s iconic “Carmina Burana,” accompanied by five superb percussionists on a myriad of instruments with the timpani dominating and two pianos. The Skidmore College Community Chorus and Battenkill Chorale, combined with the Saratoga Children’s Chorus made a huge sound in this hall so well supported and echoed by excellent acoustics…

   The real star of the show was Janet McGhee, the conductor and director.

That the choruses were so clean and rhythmically clear, in tune, and balanced so well was definitely her doing, and made for a very exciting evening. The sold-out hall filled with cheers and bravos and unanimous standing ovation at the end, but who would not be moved by the powerful “O Fortuna” chorus at the beginning and end, the wheel of fortune that keeps repeating and turning?

Priscilla McLean

The Times Union

May 3, 2010

Review of To Russia with Love (2008)

Battenkill Off to Russia, Gave a Good Preview

After 13 years of planning, Artistic Director Janet McGhee and 35 of her approximately 100 singers will journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg, giving concerts, sightseeing and (hopefully) making friends for American music…

   The music for this adventure was previewed last Saturday, June 21, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Greenwich. The enthusiastic audience, many of them choir members who were not going on the trip, gave the group a rousing send-off…

   A nice bonus for this concert and tour was the presence of Albany-based composer Alfred Fedak, who provided the piano accompaniment when needed, and whose compositions “Earth Teach Me Stillness” and “There is a Season” were lovingly sung by the choir (with a solo turn by his wife, mezzo soprano Susan Hermance Fedak.) His music is firmly rooted in the American church anthem tradition, with highly lyrical melodies and ear catching harmonies. I think the Russians, with their own choral tradition of strong melodies and full harmonies, will like these…

William Martin 

The Chronicle

June 26, 2008

Review of “An American Celebration” (2008)

Battenkill Chorale Celebrates America

…The program traversed through sophisticated arrangements of religious, folk and theatrical music, often with the choir singing unaccompanied. An opening set of homages to the shape note hymn tradition climaxed in Jeremiah Ingall’s rousing “New Jerusalem.” McGhee led it by simply marking time with her swinging left arm, thus suggesting the forceful beat given by a traditional shape note leader.

   Otherwise, McGhee was a meticulous and engaging conductor who coaxed some well-focused and attractive sounds from the 80 adult singers. The black spirituals that culminated each half of the program, including “Soon I Will Be Done,” “Zion’s Walls” and “His Name so Sweet” combined a raw enthusiasm with rehearsed expression. The opening strains of “Elijah Rock,” as arranged by Jester Hairston, succeeded because of the supply of strong male voices, a rare commodity for volunteer choirs…

Joseph Dalton

The Times Union

May 3, 2008

Review of An Uncommon Concert to Celebrate the Season! (2007)

Battenkill Shines as Chorale Looks to Russian Tour

Janet McGhee's labor of love, the Battenkill Chorale, continues to mature in sound and expression.  Last Saturday's musical sampler of sacred music from various cultures was a gem, a holiday concert even Scrooge would have to love…

   Exhibiting a tonal versatility not always expected of a group of unpaid performers, the Chorale moved from raucous early New England to lush and languid for a shimmering performance of contemporary composer Morten Lauridsen's "O magnum mysterium"

   As the choir begins prepping for a summer tour of Russia, the Russian sound they now get is better than ever. If I had one major complaint for this concert it would be that I really wanted to hear more Rachmaninoff.

   As the group prepares to go abroad, they can be confident that they are in good hands under the direction of Ms. McGhee. Here's a leader who prepares exquisitely, allowing her to conduct from a completely centered posture, in full command of the instrument she has created. June 21 of next year (ah summer!) will be their bon voyage concert - and it should be a great event.

William Martin 

The Chronicle

December 6, 2007