HomeAboutContactsContributeUpcoming ConcertsHear Music

The Family Folk Chorale was founded in 1999 with the belief that everyone can sing and that people of all ages singing together is powerful music. We are a multi-generational group of more than 60 singers of all ages and a band comprised of some of Boston's most versatile musicians. Skillful and sensitive arrangements by director Chris Eastburn provide opportunities to hear individual voices in solo and small groups as well as harmonically rich, full group refrains. Membership includes whole families as well as individuals and is not audition-based.

"Ultimately, what the Family Folk Chorale is about is the spirit of the music and the people and the power of the human voice to excite, entertain, and express the range of human experience."
  - from a Mothering Magazine feature article about the Family Folk Chorale written by Milva McDonald
FFC member Molly Pinto-Madigan

Director Chris Eastburn is an award winning composer, arranger, and choral director who enjoys making music with people of all ages and walks of life. We are fortunate to be backed regularly by the instrumental talents of Gary Backstrom, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Gary Backstrom Band, Dan Dick of Woodwork and Outrageous Fortune, and Linda Ugelow of Libana.

Sol Y Canto performing with FFC

"The Family Folk Chorale is an extraordinary group of families and individuals that come together. Since 2003, Sol y Canto has been performing many of the songs from this CD at performing Arts Centers across the country with various choruses. None of them had brought me to tears of joy as hearing the Family Folk Chorale has done today. We are really, REALLY happy to be here!"

-Rosi Amador, lead singer Sol y Canto on stage at Arlington Town Hall

Folk Music

The Family Folk Chorale is a leader in the resurgence of ensemble-based folk music performance. In each of three concert programs per year, we explore a genre, theme, or the work of a particular folk artist or artists. Each concert features 12-16 songs that express the full range of the songwriter or theme. Past concerts have delved into the music of Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, the Weavers, Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, Joni Mitchell and Carole King, Bill Staines, Elvis, Beatles and Dylan and past themes have included "The Arc of Life", "Gracias a la Vida: Songs from Latin America", "Bluegrass", "Songs from Appalachia".

Performance

We perform regularly including sold-out shows at the Regent Theatre in Arlington and the National Heritage Museum, and places like Boston's Faneuil Hall, the Portland Children's Museum, and the historic Club Passim in Harvard Square. Our shows are nearly always handicap accessible.

Artistry

Songs can take on whole new meanings, refreshing interpretations, and satisfying depth when sung by the whole chorale or by just the children, teens, men, women, a solo singer, or an individual family. Traditional folk accompaniment (i.e. guitar, banjo, drums, bass, fiddles, tin whistles, etc.), and narrations add richness, support and simple contrast to fit each song and songwriter into a greater context. For some of our concerts, we are thrilled to share the stage with guest artists whose music we are celebrating. We've had the privilege of hosting artists including Bill Staines, Sol Y Canto, Robbie O'Connell (of the Clancy Bros.), Tracy Grammer, folk writer Scott Alarik, local singer-songwriter-naturalist Oen Kennedy, and others. And, thanks to the creation of the Bill Meikle Visiting Artist Fund, we have a vehicle to support this exciting tradition of collaborating with prominent musicians.

FFC members Carrie Harrington and Paul HatemParticipation

The Family Folk Chorale is an intergenerational, family-based ensemble. Children, adults and seniors engage with each other and value everyone's talent and contribution. Even the babies are present throughout rehearsals and performances - nurturing a love of folk music from the earliest age.

Community

Most importantly, the Family Folk Chorale is committed to the principle that "everyone can sing", and to that end, the entire audience is encouraged to sing along through much of our concerts. As the stage is filled with moms, dads, singles, seniors, and kids, audience members easily identify with those leading the singing, become active in their listening/singing experience, and the line between audience and performer is blurred and all ages participate together. Our folk music traditions become joyfully and easily integrated into the fabric of the family and community, supporting and enriching our daily lives together.

Artistic Director Chris EastburnArtistic Director Chris Eastburn

In addition to directing the Family Folk Chorale, Chris Eastburn is an arranger, orchestrator and award-winning composer. His music has been performed to acclaim from New York's Carnegie Hall to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Recent commissions include a ballet score for Island Moving Co. called Newport Stories, a string orchestra and chorus score for the theatre production Moses Brown and the Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally and a score for Caitlin Corbett Dance Co. called Tom's Wealth. Chris's string quartet/vocal quartet score Consent to Gravity choreographed by Daniel McCusker was hailed as "one of the most successful new musical works for dance I've heard in ages" by Debra Cash, dance critic for NPR's Here and Now. His arrangement and orchestration of "Jazzy Old St. Nick, a hip swing version of a Christmas favorite" is now available from the Hal Leonard choral music catalog. As a choral director and song leader Chris enjoys working with people of all ages and walks of life.

For more about Chris, including contact information and details about his compositions and additional directing, see his website at eastburnmusic.com.

Our Mission

The Family Folk Chorale seeks to inspire community, compassion and discovery through music made together by families of all ages (3-80) performing meaningful, uplifting songs and creating a powerful connection between audience, singers, band, and songwriters.