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Laurel Lake

16Things "got festive" this week as the Laurel Lake Encore Chorale presented three standing-room-only Holiday Concerts at Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson, Ohio.  The 70-voice choir under the direction of Donna Anderson presented "Sounds of the Season," a sleigh full of traditional and modern carols and songs celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah.  

The excitement started Monday, Dec. 14 at 7:00 PM as the Chorale opened its first concert with John Purifoy's energetic "Carols of the Angels," a modern take on three beloved angel carols. This was immediately followed by Lloyd Larson's lush setting of "The First Noel." Both pieces displayed the Chorale's rich 4-part harmony and beautiful depth of sound.

Amy Hartman next joined forces with Ruth Anderson for "Noel of the Birds," a lively flute/piano duet by Jacques Berthier in which the flute mimics birdsong.  Our audience was charmed!

Then came "Light," the shimmering third movement from Michael Isaacson's "Aspects of a Great Miracle," reflecting the hope of Hanukkah. Our singers flawlessly performed the graceful melodic lines and complex, dissonant harmonies that make this piece quietly spectacular. "Lighting the darkness of cold despair, blessing tomorrow with warmth to share."

Soprano Donna Anderson next sang “Some Children See Him,” the treasured Alfred Burt carol that has an important message for all of us in these troubled times.


In a hilarious change of pace, the Chorale had its audience laughing with Tom Fettke's "No Time to Diet." Diction was key as our performers sang: "Dashing through the mashed potatoes and the candied yams....fill that boat right up with gravy, there's enough to feed the Navy!"  This was followed by Andy Beck's swing version of the holiday pop classic, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" as our singers got to demonstrate their jazz singing "chops."

Next, a holiday sing-along filled the hall as audience and choir sang "Joy to the World," "Deck the Halls," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" with gusto!

Amy Hartman and Ruth Anderson returned with "Evening Noel," a quiet flute/piano duet that pairs "Silent Night" with an unusual, spare, Asian-inspired accompaniment.

The Chorale returned full force with Philip Stopford's brilliant, spirited a cappella setting of the traditional Celtic carol, "I Saw Three Ships." With complex moving parts in which the singers create their own driving rhythms and even mimic the drone of bagpipes, this was a true showstopper!

The evening's grand finale was a piece so exciting, our audience demanded an encore! Jay Althouse's "Cantar!" ("Sing!" in Spanish) is a Cuban salsa-inspired work for choir and percussion that had singers and listeners alike dancing in their seats! The Chorale's joyful delivery paired with drummer Jill Rango's infectious rythms for the perfect closing number.

The Chorale performed this amazing concert two more times, on December 15 and 18. Punch and cookie receptions followed each concert as our singers, instrumentalists, friends and family members celebrated the very successful conclusion of another Laurel Lake Encore Chorale holiday season!

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"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)