For the first time in almost two decades, former Mayflower Chorale music director (1979-1986), J. Fred Thornton, will be conducting a pair of choral concerts in the Middleboro and Lakeville area.

According to South Coast, Mr. Thornton directed the Mayflower Chorale from 1983 until 1997.  The group was a civic chorus which Mr. Thornton started in early 1983 with the support of the Middleboro Music Guild and it became well-known for its bi-annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” After 1997, the chorus became a small vocal ensemble of six to eight voices known as the Mayflower Camerata.

There will be two performances, and they will take place on Friday evening, September 30th, at 8:00 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Lakeville (intersection of Routes 18 & 105, and Precinct St.); and on Sunday afternoon, October 2nd, at 3:00 p.m. at the Central Congregational Church in Middleboro (corner of Route 105 and Webster St.). Both performances are free to the public.

“The one-hour program will open with Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 1 (“Zadok the Priest”), composed for the coronation of King George II, and performed at every British coronation since. This five-minute chorus is one of Handel’s most stirring, rivaling the “Hallelujah” Chorus in “Messiah”.” The program will continue with a beautiful cantata by Dietrich Buxtehude, which is “Every Word and Thought.”

With additional reporting by Sal Lopez