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Laurel Lake

The Laurel Lake Encore Chorale, featuring 65 singers from throughout the Greater Cleveland/Akron metropolitan area, performed back-to-back Holiday Concerts for over 300 people on December 16 & 17 at Laurel Lake Retirement Community.

Joining the Chorale was guest artist Gregory Fiocca, an accomplished teacher and Principal Cellist for Mastersingers Inc. of Northeast Ohio. Greg was Principal Cellist in the Akron Symphony for five seasons and has performed with the Canton, Columbus and Youngstown Symphonies, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, and the Playhouse Square Orchestra in Cleveland’s theater district.

The Chorale opened both concerts with John Rutter’s shimmering “Candlelight Carol,” a lush and tender piece that evokes images of angel choirs in a starlit sky. The singers performed its unison and a capella passages with delicacy, "blossoming" into the glorious chorus of “Gloria, Gloria in excelsis deo!”

Next came Vicki Tucker Courtney’s “Hanukkah, The Season of Light,performed so expressively by the Chorale with cellist Gregory Fiocca. The choir’s rich harmonies blended perfectly with the haunting cello accompaniment for this concert piece which conveys the message of Hanukkah.

Greg was then joined by pianist Ruth Anderson for a gorgeous cello/piano duet, Liz Story’s pairing of “Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella” with “When Blossoms Flowered ‘Mid The Snows.” Audience and singers were mesmerized by the deep, rich voice of the cello interwoven with the delicate sounds of Laurel Lake’s new Kawai Conservatory Grand Piano.

A light-hearted Carol Sing-along with the audience set the stage for the Chorale’s next piece, the hilarious “Twelve Days After Christmas.” Our singers performed this spoof on the iconic holiday song with all the energy, drama and diction of a Broadway cast, earning plenty of laughter and smiles from the audience.

A second piano and cello duet, Mark Haye’s dramatic arrangement of “Coventry Carol,” was followed by the Chorale’s performance of “In The Bleak Midwinter.” Tom Fettke and Thomas Grassi’s treatment of this classic tune by Christina Rossetti and Gustav Holst, with its warm harmonies and hushed, beautifully sustained unison note at the end, truly touched the audience.

The real show-stopper of this concert was the festive medieval carol, “On This Day, Earth Resounds,” arranged by Robert Sieving with handbell accompaniment and mingling both English and Latin texts. The Chorale sang this dynamic, angular piece with great confidence, culminating in a resounding, thrilling 7-part final cord!

Bouncing back to modern times, the concert closed with a charming medley of "Holiday Favorites" arranged by Roger Emerson with Laurel Lake personal trainer Jill Rango playing the drums. Audience members joined the Chorale in singing Let It Snow!, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bell Rock, Silver Bells, and Frosty The Snowman with gusto.  What a delightful way to end this very successful season!

The Laurel Lake Encore Chorale is now recruiting singers for the 2014 Spring Session, starting Tuesday Jan. 7 at 3:00 PM. Contact Donna Anderson at 330-655-1436 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested in joining.

"The denunciation of the young is a necessary part of the hygiene of older people, and greatly assists the circulation of the blood." ~Logan Pearsall Smith