Performing a concert in Abravanel Hall is always a thrill. When Sterling changed it to two nights, I was concerned because of the 300 mile round trip drive. Not only for two nights performing, but for the two mandatory rehearsals that week as well. But I made my peace, found a place to stay overnight, with one of my daughters in the area, and enjoyed myself.
Sterling, our conductor, is very talented at picking out the songs, arranging for a good mix of guest performers and making up a very wonderful program that seems to reach every member of the audience and choir in many different levels.
This year we sang to a practically packed house two nights in a row. We had several guest performers, Joshua Creek, Joseph Paur, Jessica Poulson, Jenny Simmons and Dave Beecher.
Joshua Creek is, in their words, "a unique blend of country-esque music and inspirational lyrics of faith." Their harmony is beautiful, and they have a fun sense of humor to add to the mix. Not normally a fan of country music, I really enjoyed their sound and their lyrics. My favorite song was Flying to Freedom. We got to sing along with them in two of their numbers. They orchestrated and arranged it for SATB. It has a John Denver feel to the song, and has me singing it over and over in my head.
Joseph Paur, best known for his role in the Feature Film's musical Rigeletto. His classically trained voice is perfect for the part, and he reprised two of the songs from the movie in the concert.
Singing with Joseph was Jessica Poulson. Jessica sang beautifully in a solo, then a duet with Joseph. Jessica is Sterling's daughter, and you couldn't have seen a prouder look on his face as he directed the orchestra accompaniment.
Another highlight was when two of our choir members sang solos. It was so fun to see them standing up there and sounding so perfect. Jenny Simmons and Dave Beecher sang the solos from Showboat in a medley. Jenny's perfect soprano voice carried us all away, back to that era. And Dave Beecher's wonderful low bass was perfect for Old Man River.
Donny Gilbert wrote a piece especially for this concert, entitled Celebration '47. His work is always amazing, he is a genius.
The main reason I joined this choir was to sing in a four part choir, and because of our weekly practices, I am singing all the time. The music Sterling picks is always beautiful and uplifting. The opportunities we have been given because we are members of this choir are beyond anything I had ever dreamed of.
Saturday's performance went off perfectly. There were no mistakes, well except a tiny part where I totally forgot how my part sounded and I just mouthed it. shhh don't tell Sterling.
The audiences were amazing. They really make a difference. It is such a thrill to look out and see their faces smiling back, hands clapping to the music and responding to us. We end up playing off each other. The more enthused they are, the more responsive we become. I found myself surprised at the intermission and end of each program, thinking, "Already?" The only downer is handing in that music. I sort of want to keep it near me and go over the words again as I sing to myself.
At the end of every single concert, I say to myself, "That was the BEST concert I have EVER been in, there is NO WAY Sterling can top this!" But he does. I am just so thrilled to be a part of it.
Thank you Sterling. You are amazing.