The 225th Anniversary of the Town of Claverack
Saturday, February 8, 2014, at 3 pm
The Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack







I. Popular Songs and Ballads
    Lorraine Nelson Wolf, piano, voice

    • Springfield Mountain (1761) – American Folk Ballad
    • Home Sweet Home (1822) – Words by John Howard Payne, music by Henry Bishop
    • How Can I Keep From Singing (1868) – Words by Pauline T., music by Robert Lowry

Award-winning composer, pianist, and singer Lorraine Nelson Wolf is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. She has played on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. As a theater musician she has performed in over a dozen Broadway shows, from Sweeney Todd to Grease. Her composition credits include the CBS NASCAR theme, various commercial scores, and songwriting both for herself and other artists. She composed the music for the Telly Award winning documentary Four Hands, One Heart, which aired nationwide on PBS. She has written music for Guideposts, had songs published in the Unity hymnal, and completed many commissioned works for organizations (Reformed Church in America, Harvey Cedars Bible Conference, etc.), as well as for churches and individuals. With seven solo CDs to her name, her songs have been heard on radio stations nationwide and sung in churches around the world. Awards include multiple Billboard International Song Contest prizes, ASCAP composer awards yearly since 2005, as well as two Parents’ Choice awards for her popular CD series of children’s folk songs, “Come Follow Me!” More information and music can be found at

II. A Baroque Sampler
     Gwen Gould, organ

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

    • Fantasia in G minor
    • Chorale Prelude: “Wachet auf” (Sleepers Wake)
    • Chorale Prelude: “Kommst du nun, Jesu” (Come, thou, Jesu)

Deitrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

    • Prelude and Fugue in a minor


Gwen Gould has enjoyed a diverse career as an organist, artistic director, conductor, and entrepreneur. Beginning her professional career as an organist at the age of 13, she was a national competition finalist, performed extensively as a solo recitalist, and developed a career in New York City as an organist and director of music at St. Bartholomew’s, The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and The Church of Our Saviour.

Ms. Gould performed recitals at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, various churches on the East Coast, and in NYC at St. Bartholomew’s, St. Thomas’ Church, Trinity Wall Street, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Chapel of Columbia University, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, among others. Alan Hovhaness, composer, praised “her splendid mastery of all elements of organ playing and musicianship,” in a review in The American Organist.

She received a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and a Master of Sacred Music from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music/Union and held teaching posts at Stuart Hall in Staunton, VA, and at St. Luke’s School, NYC.

As an entrepreneur, she founded the Columbia Festival Orchestra (1988), the West Village Chorale (1971), Diamond Opera Theater (2004), and Claverack Landing (2010). Gwen and her husband Ed Grossman founded an IT staffing company JSL Computer Services, Inc. in New York City in 1978, which they continue to run from their office in Hudson, NY. Ms. Gould currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Hudson Opera House, PS21 (Performance Spaces for the 21st Century) and the West Village Chorale.

III. Early Songs of America & Afar
       Keith Niver, organ

  • Yankee Doodle  – (c. 1770) Words by Richard Shuckburgh; tune, traditional
  • Battle of the Kegs – British version; words by Francis Hopkinson
  • Yankee Doodle – Rebel version; later adopted as Revolution’s unofficial anthem
  • The Congress 1776 – Words by Nancy Dawson Midi; sung by Loyalists and British soldiers
  • The Liberty Song – Lyrics by John Dickinson; tune of Heart of Oak
  • The Revolutionary Tea Ballad – A poem sung by daughter of the Queen.
  • Hymn: “God of Our Fathers” –Words by Daniel Roberts (1876); music by George Warren (1880)
  • Yankee Doodle – (Reprise) leading to Civil War
  • Dixie – Daniel Decatur Emmett
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again – Words by Patrick Gilmore; music by Louis Gilmore
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic – Words by Julia Ward Howe (1861); music William Steffe (1856)
  • An American Medley: My Country ‘Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful & God Bless America
  • The concert’s finale will feature the singing of the revived Alma Mater of the Claverack Union Free School.

Keith Niver is a native of the area, living most of his life in the family homestead on the Old Lane, just a short distance from here. He grew up attending the Claverack Reformed Dutch Church and served as the Associate Organist here for several years under Alyce Duntz. Keith began his church organist career at the age of 13, playing at the Trinity Episcopal Church next to the old Chapel on Route 23B. After going to college, Keith returned to Claverack. He was organist for over 15 years at First Presbyterian Church in Valatie, then took his talents to Chatham United Methodist Church for over 12 years.

Keith is currently the Director of Music and organist at Red Hook UMC. His background includes singing in various groups, including the Berkshire Hillsmen, an a Capella men’s Barbershop chorus, where he also directed the group. Keith teaches piano and organ in Hudson at the family store and at Little Falls School of Music & Arts in Kinderhook. He has been married to Lois for over 41 years. They have two children, Ryan and Robyn, and a granddaughter, Zoe.

History of The Reformed Dutch Church in Claverack

The RDCC was organized in 1716. The first church stood east of the Old Court House (Rt. 23 B), and was dedicated in 1727, the beginning date of the church’s baptismal records.

In 1767, the present sanctuary of the Reformed Dutch Church was constructed on land that was deeded by John Van Rensselaer. Over the years, the original structure was expanded to include a bell tower, twin entry wings, and an expanded pulpit. The sanctuary is on the Register of National Historic Places and is one of Claverack’s most cherished structures, not only as a sanctuary but also as a landmark and a visible reminder to all who pass by of the area’s historic and religious heritage. The interior of the church is simplistically beautiful and awe inspiring.

The sanctuary was dedicated on November 8, 1767. Rev. John Gabriel Gebhard, who began his ministry in 1776, kept his position for fifty years until his death in 1826. The ministerial legacy began by Gebhard can be followed by reading the marble plaques which hang in the front of the sanctuary. Because of its very early beginnings and geographic location, the church played an important part in the Revolutionary War, providing respite for soldiers and officers. Located on the Reformed Dutch Church grounds, the historic Claverack Cemetery provides a wealth of information about the earliest families and their roles in history. The parsonage next door, a side hall colonial house, was constructed circa 1845 and is the present parsonage for the church.