The Laurel Lake Encore Chorale presented its spring concert, "Americana," on June 2 at 7 p.m. What a fabulous way to kick off the summer!
Fifty talented singers performed the music of early and present-day American composers and arrangers before a packed house of friends, family and local guests. When the hall's maximum seating of 180 was reached, folks spilled into the Commons and the Laurel Lake Pub (cheers!) where people watched the concert on closed-circuit TV.
The choir opened with a toe-tappin' rendition of Irving Berlin's first Vaudeville hits, Play A Simple Melody and Alexander's Ragtime Band. Then came the haunting folk tune Shenandoah interwoven with Deep River. The hopeful 1968 Vietnam era single, What A Wonderful World, made so popular by Louie Armstrong, was just as uplifting today, as was the swinging gospel arrangement of Precious Lord, Take My Handby Thomas Dorsey and George Allen. Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Irving Berlin's musical setting of the poem The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, reminded us of the Statue of Liberty and all she stands for. A tender arrangement of Be Thou My Vision by contemporary American choral writer Dan Forrest showcased the choir's close harmony.
A highlight of the evening was Ching A Ring Chaw, the setting by Aaron Copland. Our singers have had a "love/hate" relationship with this piece all season long... calling it Chimichanga, Chichén-Itzá, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a few other names I can't repeat. But on Wednesday night, it was all love as the singers performed this rollicking piece flawlessly!
At last, the grand finale. The chorale sang The Armed Forces: The Pride of America as audience members who served in the various branches of the military, or whose family members served, rose amid ringing applause and cheers. Everyone joined in the singing of the National Anthem. A very moving experience, and a tour de force for the choir's accompanist, Ruth Anderson.
What a great year! Membership in Encore Creativity has not only brought us more singers, a choral workshop with Jeanne Kelly, and access to Encore's extensive lending library of choral music perfect for older singers. Encore is inspiring us to new heights in the art of choral singing as we form new friendships that will last a lifetime. We can hardly wait for next season!