A newsmaker you should know: Choral society director thinking an octave higherThursday, March 31, 2011By Mary Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThomas Octave, music director of the Westmoreland Choral Society. With a name like Thomas Octave, the question arises as to whether his appointment to music director of the Westmoreland Choral Society was serendipity or destiny. Actually, the original rendering of his surname was Octavi, but, as happened with many immigrants, it was changed when his ancestors were processed through Ellis Island. They settled in Jeannette.
Mr. Octave was born in Latrobe, grew up in Monessen and lives in Oakmont with his wife, Elizabeth. He holds a bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master's degree from Duquesne University.
Westmoreland Choral Society retains a core of dedicated members of all agesThursday, March 31, 2011By Mary Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-GazettePerhaps as great an achievement as the Westmoreland Choral Society attaining its 40th year is that several members also are marking their fourth decade with the organization, joined by many others who have performed for 20 years or more.
"People don't always have that commitment," said John Smaligo, board vice president and a tenor with the group, for whom membership is a family affair with wife Mary, a soprano, and son John, a bass.
The Greensburg-based choral group was founded in the spring of 1971 by Oren Hopkins and Linda Stainton, two former members of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh who felt that there was sufficient talent in Westmoreland County to organize a local group.