Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Season/New Direction

Itasca Community Chorus is gearing up for another phenomenal season under the direction of Sam Evans and accompanist Stuart Boehr.  The choir rehearses Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids.  This choir open to all, and singers are encouraged to make as many rehearsals as possible. 

Sam Evans conscientiously rehearses the ensemble so that by concert time, those who attend regularly can feel confident of the music.  Sectionals are held as needed and this year Sam's asking that at least a couple of the numbers be memorized. 

The plan for the Oct. 30, 2015 program at the United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids centers around newer arrangements of the old spirituals.The Choir will be singing 8 or 9 numbers and numerous solo, duet, and small ensemble opportunities are available.

In the repertoire are numbers from well-known arrangers like Mark Hayes, Moses Hogan, and William Dawson.  From "My Soul's Anchor" through "Ezekiel's Wheel" to "Over the Rainbow," the program promises to keep us asking "How Can I Keep from Singing." 

The Itasca Choral Society Board has moved the concert date up so that a number of our loyal snowbirds can participate.  Rehearsal begins Sept. 1.  A workshop will be held at Zion Lutheran Church, Saturday, September 12 from 9:00 to 3:00 to afford the choir a jumpstart on a short semester.  The Choir will intermix a lot of good singing and woodshedding with social activities and a catered noon meal.  Email Sam at to reserve your spot.

Note the early start date and please do join us Tuesday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids for a fun-filled season of making beautiful music with Itasca Community Chorus.


Monday, April 27, 2015

We Did It! And We Sang It Phenomenally Well!

    Yes, Sunday afternoon you missed it!  In Greenway Auditorium under full lights and in competition with that sunny weather, Itasca Community Chorus sang to a small, but appreciative audience.  Never have the strings, piano and chorus meshed so beautifully as when they sang "Word over all:  beautiful as the sky that WAR MUST IN TIME BE UTTERLY LOST."  Taken from Walt Whitman's poetry as well as biblical scripture and set to music but Ralph Vaughen Williams,  audience members could hear the "beat, beat drums; blow bugles blow" approaching.  The chorus agonized back, "Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?" 
    Baritone Loren Squires and soprano Susan Loeffler held chorus and audience alike in their thrall as they projected their grief over the loss of life and their petition for peace Dona Nobis Pacem. Complemented by a four-string orchestra and a pianist par excellence, chorus members left the concert asking if we might do this again in three or four years.  As one newer member said, "So many in the audience have never heard anything like this." 
    The power point of the Carnegie Tour to New York City at intermission was almost anti-climactic, and though the chorus sang the Broadway tunes with heart and energy, I for one was still singing from the Pacem "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men."
    That's it for Itasca Community Chorus until the Tuesday after Labor Day.  Chorus members, their friends, and family are invited to Zorbaz tomorrow evening for a time to socialize and celebrate. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sunday at Greenway Audtorium 4:00 pm

We've rehearsed and rehearsed so please join us for the concert.  You'll hear Dona Nobis Pacem, enjoy our small orchestra as it carries us through 38 minutes of unbelievably rich text and composition that addresses war, moves us toward reconciliation, and ends on the soprano's haunting plea for peace.  Soloists Loren Squires, baritone, and soprano Susan Loeffler sing like professionals.  Our orchestra is second to none and the choir itself has grown since that stellar spring concert last spring that launched our grand tour to Carnegie Hall in New York City.  At intermission we hope to share some of our best slides of our New York City time and we'd love to visit with you during the reception that follows the concert.  Tickets are free to children and veterans and only $10 for adults.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

We're Back and Ready to Deliver. . .

The Carnegie Tour contingent is back and ready for an intense rehearsal with Director Sam Evans and the orchestra this evening.

Sunday at 4:00 in Greenway Auditorium the entire choir brings you New York New York, a concert of prayerful petition throughout Dona Nobis Pacem, Ralph Vaughen William's cantata, followed by the inspiring songs of Broadway.

Tickets (available at the door) are only $10 with complementary tickets to students and veterans, courtesy of a Lake Country Power Operation RoundUp grant.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Carnegie Hall--We Did It!

A week ago tonight 20 of us stepped onto the Carnegie Stage in New York City (along with 243 singers from across the nation) and performed Ralph Vaughen Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem.  Now we want to bring our experience back to you:

and share as much as we can at Greenway Auditorium next Sunday, April 26th at 4:00 pm.

We're still totally in awe of this powerful prayer for peace and our entire experience.  The Itasca Community Chorus Carnegie Tour 2015 was even more than Director Sam Evans promised.  I, for one, don't know how we can give you more, but we're going to try to complete a powerpoint from some of our best photos to show at intermission, deliver a second half of the concert with Broadway tunes and follow that with a reception.  That's $10 for adult tickets at the door with complementary veteran and student tickets courtesy of Lake Country Power.

This activity is brought to you in part by MN Legacy funds through a grant from Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Opportunity and Challenge!

So here we are in NYC with a fabuous director in Trey Jacobs. Our rehearsals have been 4 intense hours of good choral work with detailed instruction on how to enunciate so the audience can understand and shape each phrase so just listening to tone communicates deep grief, terror, etc.  We've learned about echo consonants among other techniques.  The soprano soloist uses these to the point where her final "pacem" is delivered like a kiss. 

The frustrating part is that my electronics are not connecting and I can not share the fabuous photos being taken by our singers and VIPS.  For a taste try Facebook and ask to befriend Glenna Tolrud.  She and Connie Daigle's daughter Linnea have been in constant motion and recording the highlights with their cellphones.  We're hoping to create a power point to show some of these at our home concert in Greenway Auditorium, Sunday, Aprill 26th at 4:00 pm.  Tickets are on sale or from Itasca Community Choir members:  $10 for adults with students and veterans free courtesy of a Lake Country Power Opeation RoundUp grant. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New York New York

April 8, 2015 at 6:00 am thirty-one Itasca Community Chorus singers and their supporters depart from Grand Rapids for Carnegie Hall in New York City.  There they will rehearse for 14 hours with Distinguished Choirs of New York City Director Trey Jacob as he brings 250 vocalists from around the nation and full orchestra together to perform Ralph Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem cantata on the Carnegie stage Sunday evening April 12. 

The event Itasca Community Chorus has worked long and hard for under the direction of Sam Evan and accompanist Stuart Boehr is days away, but before the cadre of singers departs, we have two intense rehearsals ahead.

Please follow us here, on twitter, and  Facebook as we share pictures and snippets of our New York tour.