Junior Mints Prepare for Tanglewood Debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Thirty-two young singers from the Monadnock region are busily rehearsing for their debut performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood on Saturday night, July 9th!

The Norway Pond Junior Minstrels, prepared by their founder and director Jody Hill Simpson, will perform Carl Orff’s iconic work Carmina Burana with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Canadian maestro Pierre Lacombe.

Jody was the founder and artistic director of the Boston-based PALS Children’s Chorus (now know as Voices Boston) until ten years ago when she and her husband moved to Hancock where she formed Music on Norway Pond, which includes a Concert Series and three choruses. During her 16 years with PALS, they performed over 70 concerts with the Boston Symphony in Boston Washington DC, Tanglewood and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. 

The Junior Minstrels (fondly known as the Junior Mints) were founded by Jody about 7 years ago and it was just this past season when she felt that they were ready for an adventure outside of Hancock. The children performed Carmina Burana with the Norway Pond Festival Singers under her direction in 2014. She became aware that the BSO had yet to contract a children’s chorus for their Tanglewood performance of Carmina Burana and on an impulse, contacted them in January, proposing the Junior Minstrels as a potential children’s chorus. Within a few hours, they were hired. By word of mouth, we have opened up the experience to other children in the region including members of the Conval choral ensembles under the direction of Krystal Morin. 

The children will travel to Tanglewood on Thursday July 7 and immediately rehearse for three hours in the Koussevitsky Music Shed. They will spend three nights in the Berkshires rehearsing and touring the area. On Saturday morning, the children will rehearse again in an Open Dress Rehearsal format with the Boston Symphony and on Saturday night, they will perform for over 10,000 concert-goers. 

The Junior Minstrels will be wearing new uniforms, embroidered peasant-style shirts, hand-made for them in the Ukraine. Several donors have generously under-written the expense. Graphic designer Margaret Baker has created a Junior Minstrels logo which will appear on their rehearsal tee-shirts. 

We are quite sure that the experience awaiting the thirty-two member of Junior Mints will be life-changing.  Jody enthuses, “The transformative power of making music on a stage with over 200 professional musicians is profound. The young singers will use it as an important benchmark for the rest of their lives.”