• Concert Program
  • Music Director’s Welcome
  • Performer Bios


For those joining from home via livestream:
click here to see the concert program

From Mike Pfitzer, Music Director

Welcome to “Seasons of Change,” an exploration through music of the parallels between the changing seasons and the changes in our lives, from month to month, year to year, and decade to decade. We’ll feature a number of songs that you’ll know and will hopefully make you reminisce about all the best times in your life, as well as some new ones that we hope will become favorites. There will be many opportunities to sing along, and I hope you’ll take full advantage…tonight, we want *you* to join us in song, as we are all stronger when we sing together!

In a musical program that navigates some of the most sensitive, complex, and nostalgic moments of our lives, I can think of no more fitting guest artists than Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy. Keith and Becky have made a career out of performing sensitive and moving songs that have been sung for generations and universally connect with our most basic human emotions. Tonight, they’ll share some music on their own, and join in with the whole Chorale and Band to bring that music and that emotion to you.

Our band, led by long-time Mystic pianist Ruth Roper, and visits from special guests Nick Page, Donnell Patterson, and Louise Grasmere will make for a truly special evening. As you listen and sing, I hope you’ll find a little time to reflect on the ways in which music can strengthen our greatest joys and halve our greatest sorrows, when we use our voices to amplify our feelings together in community. Please bring whatever you’re feeling into the room this evening, and see if we can’t connect in a meaningful way to whatever is going on for you right now.

Thank you, as always, for your support of the Mystic Chorale, which makes all we do possible. Please consider making a donation tonight to support the work of our organization or, better yet, come sing with us next fall, winter, or spring. And most of all, enjoy the show!


Musical Director: Mike Pfitzer

Mike Pfitzer is an innovative and engaging conductor, educator, and community music maker. In addition to being Music Director for the Mystic Chorale, he is the Choral Director at Deerfield Academy, a position he has held since 2021. He previously worked for three years as the Director of Choral Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and has taught and conducted choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, Framingham State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also led international performances in Cuba, Romania, and Brazil.

Mike is an advocate for creating strong and diverse communities through music. His concerts feature music from a wide variety of places, cultures, and eras and engage with topics relevant to 21st century life. His choral groups have performed concerts themed on mental health, social justice, music against gun violence, and songs of resistance. He has presented on pedagogical techniques for restoring humanity through music in places where that humanity is systematically stripped away, and believes access to music should be a right, not a privilege afforded only to those with a specific cultural background or financial capacity to participate. Learn more about Mike here.

Guest Artists: Becky Tracy and Keith Murphy

Becky Tracy (fiddle) and Keith Murphy (guitar, mandolin, piano and foot percussion) are dynamic performers of traditional music from Newfoundland, Québec, Ireland, France and beyond. Tracy’s fiddling pulses through tasteful arrangements of dance tunes and resonates with beauty on traditional slow airs. Keith’s gentle and expressive singing in English and French is balanced by the drive and power of his guitar playing and foot percussion.

Combined, they produce a range and richness of sound that is striking for a duo. Their playing is seamless, the result of years of playing together and touring across the U.S., Canada and in Europe. Their repertoire also includes Keith’s original compositions (many of which are included in the Black Isle Music tune collection). He is a prolific tunesmith with a writing style strongly based on traditional dance music. This music is elegantly represented in their duo recording, Golden, released in early 2020. Learn more about Keith and Becky here.

Guest Artist: Louise Grasmere  

Louise Grasmere combines all the grace and elegance of the classic jazz singers with the ringing power and authority of the great blues shouters, with a voice of extraordinary emotional depth and an ability to embody the soul of each song she sings. Her sound is compelling, haunting at times, angry, powerful, full of love and passion and always deeply real. Performing in and around Boston in sold-out concerts for decades, Grasmere is a local jazz and blues legend with a devoted grass-roots following. Her sound is wholly her own – a unique fusion of jazz-influenced rhythm and blues seasoned with Motown, gospel and soul. Think Bonnie Raitt laced with the smooth landscapes of Joni Mitchell, the imaginative improvisations of Ella Fitzgerald, and the gritty authenticity of Big Mama Thornton.

Louise was an original member of the Mystic Chorale, singing with Nick Page from the days of his earliest “Power Sings” in the 1990’s, and was a regular featured soloist with the Mystic for over thirty years. She is currently recording a new album of all-new original songs, due out later this year. Learn more about Louise here.

Guest Pianist: Donnell Patterson

Donnell Patterson is chair of the Gospel Music department in New England Conservatory’s (NEC) School of Preparatory and Continuing Education. He also directs the NEC Community Gospel Choir. Since 2006, Donnell has served as the Director of Music for both the Upper and Lower Schools at Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Mass.

In 2014, Donnell joined as the Director of Boston community gospel choir, Joyful Voices of Inspiration. In addition, for over 20 years, he has been Minister of Music at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Mass. Learn more about Donnell here.

Guest Song Leader: Nick Page 

Nick Page is a song leader, composer, conductor and author who is best known for his song leading. In the 1980’s he was a conductor with the Emmy Award winning Chicago Children’s Choir. From 1990-2022, Nick led the Mystic Chorale and guest conducted around the world including at three of the four Carnegie Halls (Pittsburgh, New York, and Scotland). His choral works have premiered everywhere from Lincoln Center to schools. He is the author of three books and has close to one hundred published choral pieces. Learn more about Nick here.

Piano and Band Leader: Ruth Roper

Ruth Roper was the rehearsal and/or performance pianist for nearly half of Mystic Chorale’s concerts over the past 32 years. In 1997 she guest-directed a program of “Mystic River” music with the chorale, and in 2010 stepped in as emergency conductor for the “Upward” concert. She recently retired after 40+ years as a church, community, and seminary musician, but has been lured out of retirement to once again be our rehearsal and performance pianist!


Band Member: Alison Keslow  

Alison Keslow performs in more than 100 shows a year with her own group, The Alison Keslow Group as well as collaborates with other artists. Alison has performed with, shared album credits and supported artists such as Victor Wooten, Joan Armatrading, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, John Sebastian, Delmar Brown and Mindi Abair. She has two instrumental albums, “Between Earth and Sky” and “Bass Dharma ” as well as single releases. Alison has been nominated for a Boston Music Award for jazz artist of the year. She has been featured on NPR in recognition of her work as a bassist with the Mystic Chorale and Shakespeare To Hiphop.

Co-founder of Sudbury School of Music, a private music school in Sudbury, Mass., Alison teaches in person bass, piano and flute lessons. Alison also spends her summers teaching at one of the top colleges in the world, Berklee College Of Music as a bass instructor for the Bass Workshop with legendary bassist, Victor Wooten. She also teaches at Berklee’s Five Week, Aspire Performance Program. Learn more about Alison here.

Band Member: Jamaal Akeem  

Jamaal Shoffner was raised in a musical family and his love of drums began when he was sever years old at a church founded by his grandfather. While playing in his high school marching band, Jamaal developed a serious discipline for snare drumming. During his last two years of high school, he participated in the jazz band, expanding his appreciation for music even further. After winning awards and accolades for jazz drum set playing, he attended Berklee College of Music. In 2007 he began playing for Nightshift Entertainment and performed Boston Mayor Michele Wu’s inauguration. Jamaal founded his band, the Woo Factor, in 2014, with the vision of creating an eclectic consciously relevant sound that will transform the way people listen and enjoy music. Learn more about Jamaal here.