The seven Encore Chorales closed the spring season with a series of fabulous concerts. The exciting Smithsonian Encore Chorale April 26 concert at the Kogod was previously featured (read article here). Next came the May 5 concert featuring chorales from Smithsonian, Potomac Academy at GMU, Lorton and Langston. It was a night of distinct contrasts…….horrible weather, miserable traffic and a fantastic concert! The evening repertoire included Opera non Terrore by Phyllis Wolfe-Wight, Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco by Verdi, Lambscapes by Eric Lane Darnes, Ching-A-Ring-Chaw by Copland, Shenandoah and Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls. The singers delighted their audience with an evening of great singing and energy. Carol Gilmore of the Lorton Chorale joined the chorus with a very funny solo I Never Did Like Opera and her Lambscapes was clever and very well done. She was joined by her husband, Harry Gilmore to sing the beautiful Summertime from Porgy and Bess. It was stunning. Arleigh Rice, Hart Sebring and Bill Harris did an outstanding job in their Guys and Dolls solos. The audience was truly given a prize for braving the weather.
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The next concert was at the Goodwin House of Alexandria. There is always standing room only when the Encore Chorales presents their concerts, including singers from the Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown. The singers certainly did please their audience. Joyce Summers sang beautifully in Opera non Terrore and Lambscapes. At GHA, Bill Hamilton, Phil Smith and KT Johnson certainly did have fun with their solos opening the Guys and Dolls medley. Janet Bond had a Brooklyn blast with Adelaide and Fred Gatchell put a lot of pizzaz in his Rockin the Boatsolos. The audience loved the choice of music. And it was apparent that the singers did also. Ben Wilmot, a GHBC resident, mesmerized the audience with lovely tunes of love on the piano, including How Deep is the Ocean, The Nearness of You, Love Walked Right In, Just One of Those Things and All the Things You Are.
At Goodwin House Baileys Crossroads, the same concert was presented but with a change in soloists. Joyce Summers again expressively sang I Never Did Like Opera and Nancy Hamrik was lovely in Lambscapes. The Goodwin House Baileys men pulled out the stops in their Guys and Dolls solos. Having a blast were Ben Wilmot, Al Olson and Bob Campbell. In fact they had such a great time, they did it again! And of course, all the little lambs “baaaahing” were funny as could be.
On May 15, singers from Encore Chorales of Langston, Goodwin Houses, Smithsonian, Potomac Academy Academy of GMU and Lorton joined forces to sing an electrifying concert in front of about 250 very appreciative listeners at the Arlington Unitarian Church. The same repertoire listed above was presented and the singers were joined by soprano soloist Jean Kellogg. Jean had performed with the chorales at the Kennedy Center for the 2008 holiday concert and her return was most welcomed by all. She helped open the evening with the soprano solo I Never Did Like Opera in Opera non Terrore and her winning stage presence and final high C started the evening in high gear. She continued with Quando men Vo from Puccini’s La Boheme and Juliet’s Waltz from Romeo and Juliet. Her beautiful soprano voice and her elegance on stage allowed her to present a fantastic performance. The thunderous applause was proof.
The Encore Chorale was attentive, energized and ready to please their audience. Their diction was clear, their sound full of warmth and energy and they clearly were loving every minute on stage. The concert ended with the rousing Guys and Dolls starting with soloists Fred Gatchell, Malcolm Agnew and Bob Campbell. They were so much fun to listen to.
Janet Bond again sneezed and used her Brooklyn accent to accentuate Adelaide and Ed Villade sang the Rockin the Boat solos with great tone. The whole choir was rockin at the conclusion of Guys and Dolls. The audience cheered and it was simply a fabulous evening.
Then on Sunday, May 17, the Myerberg Encore Chorale presented their very own concert in conjunction with the Myerberg Senior Center Art Show. It was a spectacular afternoon. The art work was superb and the Encore Chorale really delivered to their standing room only audience. Soprano Betty Wren had a ball with I Never Did Like Opera and Ron Fradkin and Ed Hankin were really great in their Guys and Dolls solos. Their closing of Guys and Dolls brought the house down. A truly wonderful afternoon!
And with that, the spring 2009 season for Encore Chorale came to a close. Now it is on to the summer camps and the Queen Mary 2 cruise and of course planning for the new Encore Chorales opening in the fall at Anne Arundel Community College and Schweinhaut Senior Center in Silver Spring. Encore keeps blasting ahead!