James Boratko, Director

Jim Boratko gained a love for choral music at a very early age, and gravitated to male choral music in particular as soon as his voice changed! He’s been making music in many different capacities throughout his life.  As a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, he sang with both the Cadet Chapel Choir and the Cadet Glee Club at a time when the academy was male only.  With those groups, he sang at St. Thomas’ Cathedral in New York, the National Cathedral, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He was very active in barbershop quartet singing, both with choruses and with a quartet, A Family Affair, the latter of which went on to compete at the International level. In between being a cadet and being an avid barbershopper, he graduated as a music teacher from Central Connecticut State College, taught public school music in the Winchester Public School system, was rehearsal pianist for the Nutmeg Ballet Company, and toured professionally with the top 40 band, Countdown. More recently, he is a founding member of Gaudeamus, a Grammy award winning chorus based in Torrington, CT.  With this group, he’s had the good fortune to perform at Ozawa Hall at Tangelwood, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City with noted musicians such as Pete Seeger, the Paul Winter Consort, and Paul Halley. He’s also directed or played in numerous Broadway musical productions, including Godspell, and A Chorus Line. Throughout his entire music life, he’s been involved with church music as an organist and choir director, at churches in Burlington, CT, Winsted, CT, and his current post, the First Church of Christ, Congregational, in West Hartford, CT. Jim brings all of these varied interests and experiences together in his approach to music, preferring to perform works in as authentic a style as possible, but with something special and unique with each performance.  It’s hard to believe, but music is Jim’s part time profession, as his full time position is Director of IT Asset Management at MassMutual in Springfield, MA.  Jim resides in Canton with his very understanding wife, Kathi, and two sons: Jeffrey, who is studying music composition, and Keith, who is studying drama. A third son, Michael, a doctoral candidate of mathematics at UMASS, Amherst, is married and resides in Windsor.

Never let it be said that things don’t come around full circle.  As an example, in 2002, the bicentennial of USMA at West Point, Jim approached the organist at the Cadet Chapel with an idea of a special recital at their famous pipe organ (the largest in a church in the world) put on by former cadets who play the instrument.  The organist was intrigued with the idea, and in September of that year, three former cadets, including Jim, presented a recital in honor of the event.