Sun Lakes Community Choir Third Annual Concert

Yvonne Orlich

If you were at the Sun Lakes Community Choir concert on April 7, you were treated to a musical journey through the ages. This was the choir’s third such free concert, and as with the two previous concerts, was made possible by a generous grant from a source who wishes to remain anonymous. The grant provider obviously wishes to have good, cultural music made available to those in Sun Lakes, and we are forever grateful.

Cris Temple-Evans was again the organizer and musical director for this concert. The choir of singers from across the Sun Lakes communities’ choirs and church choirs began rehearsing earlier in the year and met weekly to learn and, in some cases, review the many numbers Cris had chosen for us to perform.

“Choral Music Through the Ages” presented music from as early as the 1600s and as current as the 1990s. From simple, unison numbers like the Gregorian chant “Hodie, Christus Natus Est” to melodic numbers like “Shenandoah” to the simplistic round of “Three Blind Mice” (yes, “Three Blind Mice”) to jazzy numbers like “Route 66,” faith-seeking numbers like “I Have Longed for Thy Saving Health,” and the finale with the always-emotional, rousing “Les Misérables,” this concert had it all.

Many in the audience, as well as some of the singers, were newly introduced to the Gregorian chant, which was performed by the men, as it was originally a monastic chant. The chant possesses an ancient and haunting sound and took us back to the sounds of church music from centuries earlier. “Shenandoah” is a flowing, picturesque river song and was gracefully enhanced by the addition of the organ played by Caroline Brown and piano played by Cris Evans.

The choir also performed the rousing “Hallelujah” from “Christ on the Mount of Olives,” by the world-renowned composer Ludwig Beethoven. “Hallelujah” is uplifting to hear and even more uplifting to sing, and Mary Sievert’s piano prowess was astounding. “Three Blind Mice,” commonly known as a nursery rhyme we all learned as children, was actually published in 1609, and there are varying and not very pretty interpretations, but it was fun to sing as a round.

There was a spiritual, “Ain’t Got Time to Die,” a favorite spiritual of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., with a baritone solo by Bart Evans, then an easily recognizable tune from My Fair Lady,Get Me to the Church on Time.” Robert Burns’ romantic poem was set beautifully to music by René Clausen under the title “O My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose.” This number was made more lovely by the string accompaniments of Cathy Worcester and Gail Rolland on the violin and cello, respectively. During the heart-wrenching finale in the “Medley from Les Misérables,” the audience heard solos by Barb Hyder and Wes Davis. Through various numbers, the percussionist BJ Van Noy embellished the numbers with her many well-placed percussion sounds.

We hope another such concert will be available next spring.