Choral Music Review



An Evening of Choral Favorites

March 28, 2009 - Cary, NC:


The Concert Singers of Cary Chamber Choir, under the direction of Lawrence Speakman shared the stage at Cary High School with the Cary High School Concert Chorus led by Ed Yasick in a concert of choral favorites. The auditorium housed a modest crowd on a stormy and threatening night.

The program, labeled “Heart Renderings,” began with a dramatic performance by the Cary High Chorus of Randal Thompson’s “The Last Words of David.” Just about everyone who has sung in a high school or college choir has had the thrill of singing this effective anthem. My memory of singing it under the direction of Robert Fountain some fifty years ago is still vivid. Mrs. Janet Trotter was the piano accompanist for this concert.

Thomas Tallis’ gem, “If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments” was sung next a cappela.  Even though the choir seemed a bit short of voices tonight (there were 14 tenors and basses listed in the program and only 8 on the stage) they produced a nice rounded sound with their eyes fixed on Yasick for every cue. All of their selections were sung from memory producing a crisp ensemble and effective phrasing.

The high school singers continued with four more selections concluding with "Kwaheri," an African song which included Devon Tuttle playing the Djembe (drum) and Michelle Golloday playing the African Maracas.

The Concert Singers of Cary Chamber Choir, consisting of some 35 voices from the larger community chorus, opened their portion of the concert with Daniel Gawthrop’s very popular “Sing Me to Heaven.” Their singing was warm and expressive. They are very much at home with this style of music. This was followed by two selections by the current “king” of choral writing, Eric Whitacre. His music is rich in imaginative counterpoint and tight and mellow harmony which this group handled well.

The program continued with e.e. cummings' poem “i thank you god for this most amazing day,” in the setting by Gwyneth Walker. "The Rune of Hospitality” by Houkom was sung with guitar accompaniment provided by Peter Smith. Folk songs and romances filled out the Chamber Choir’s portion of the program which concluded with Steven Samitz’s beguiling “I Have Had Singing” and, just for the fun of it, a vocalized arrangement of the Overture to William Tell by Rossini. Jan Guthrie provided piano accompaniment for selections of the Concert Singers.

The High School group and the Concert Singers joined their voices in an inspiring performance of Dickau’s arrangement of “If Music Be the Food of Love.” It was an evening of joyful and enthusiastic singing by an outstanding high school group and one of the major community choruses of the musically blest Triangle area.

The concert was repeated on Sunday, March 29 at First Presbyterian Church in Durham.