40th Year Celebration Continues

Type of post: Choir news item
Sub-type: Public Choir News Item
Posted By: Randy Pope
Status: Current
Date Posted: Wed, May 31 2023
As we continue to celebrate our 40th year, we'd like to share some of our rich history with you.

Alan Crabb was the original artistic director of the Binghamton Downtown Singers which was founded in 1983.  Many of the original members of the choir were former students of Alan who had taught for several years in the Binghamton area.  Alan felt it was important that amateur singers be given the opportunity to learn and perform master choral works, and that the community as a whole be given the opportunity to hear those master choral works regardless of their means.  This remains the mission of the choir to this day.

While the Downtown Singers are probably best known for their annual presentation of Handel's Messiah, a Binghamton holiday tradition, the choir has also performed many other works and at many other venues over the years including: the Roberson Museum, Pops on the River, the Binghamton baseball stadium, and the Binghamton Philharmonic's Home for the Holidays concert.  The Downtown Singers have even gained international recognition.  The choir has performed in France and has also received a congratulatory letter from Queen Elizabeth II.

Tragically, Alan passed away in the fall of 2012, just as the choir had begun preparing for our 30th year presentation of the Messiah.  Instead of celebrating the choir was grieving.  Bill Lawson, the choir’s accompanist at the time, stepped up to the podium to lead rehearsals and make our 30th anniversary performance a reality. The choir is grateful to Bill for making that possible.

In the meantime, the Board of Directors initiated a nationwide search for a new music director. After a lengthy search, and several interviews, the Board offered the position to Marisa Crabb, Alan’s wife.  Marisa accepted, and the choir began a new chapter. Marisa brought her own unique style and determination to rehearsals and the choir responded. She focused on refining the choir’s sound without sacrificing the “no audition needed” policy. The Binghamton music community noticed, and the choir continues to thrive and present beautiful music for the Binghamton area to enjoy.