review by Janet I. Martineau
It’s always fun, attending the annual Saginaw Choral Society Members’ Recital, anticipating which number will rock ya.
|The "Suddenly Seymour" number|
They’ve done this program eight years now, presenting upwards of 20 numbers featuring choir members and their kin -- solos, duets, trios, quartets, etc; instruments as well as vocals since many are fine instrumentalists as well.
More often than not, more than one of the acts rock ya.
And so it went Friday night (and probably Saturday afternoon) in this year’s installment at new digs, the acoustically gifted First United Methodist Church in Saginaw Township.
Totally nailing it, with the powerhouse delivery of a tornado, were tenor Jim Smerdon and soprano Nina Lasceski in “Suddenly Seymour,” from the musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” Complete with a fun dramatic delivery. Wow they were sensational.
On a softer note was Ah Tempo! (a male sextet) on Kevin Memley’s arrangement of that old classic “Danny Boy” -- with the piano accompaniment, played by Betty Meyer, a seventh voice; a true seventh voice in a gorgeous melding of vocals and keyboard rarely witnessed.
Those were the two standouts, but there were other notables as well:
...Sopranos Haley Honsinger and Nancy Stevenson with Lauren Hill’s “Tell Him,” showcasing lovely duet work.
... Flutist Robert Hart and organist Nicholas Schmelter’s performance of portions of Telemann’s Sonata in G Major. This may have been a matter of where one was seated, as in the middle of the front row for this audience member. Thus the organ’s two sets of pipes were at the almost-immediate left and right with Hart between them but further back, providing a surround sound that delivered goosebumps.
That same seat (usually we sit at the back) also accorded oneness with the various pianists (either soloists or accompanists)....making them standouts in every single number.
... Deanna Popielarz on flute, Jane Bellen on oboe and Catherine McMichael on piano on the sprightly and peppy Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano by Dring.
|The 28-member vocal ensemble at work|
... And twice a 28-member ensemble performed, to perfection with direction by Glen Thomas Rideout. “All My Trials” was the standout of the two with “The Rainbow Connection” from a Muppet movie just a cute and fun closer.
If there is a slight complaint, it is that this year’s installment was a tad on the too serious/religious side, except for “Suddenly Seymour.” Memory serves, hopefully accurately, that in years past the performers cut loose a little more.
As usual the dessert smorgasbord reception was a sweet ender