On Tuesday evening while we enjoyed the approaching coolness of autumn, and as we wended our way up the hill to Hoag Hall, we might have pondered how the Pueblo Children's Chorale would perform in concert under its new music director, Brook Mead.
What difference would a new music director make, one might ask. Over the years I've enjoyed and reviewed (both) the performances of the Pueblo Children's Chorale under the direction of Betsy Barto, Ken Butcher and Jennifer Shadle-Peters, all getting various responses out of these young singers, and most of them entertaining.
"Hey, that's my daughter you're talking about!" Parents, grandparents and friends loyally attend these concerts and entertain their own biases, understandably.However, it's important to support the efforts of these young singers. Who knows, a few of them may become outstanding musicians in later years as they mature. And some academicians believe that those who study and perform music do well in other subjects in school, apart from the benefits that music itself brings.
As we waited for the program to begin there was an ever-swelling chatter from the large audience. Call it pre-enthusiasm for what excitement the concert would bring. I should mention at the outset that the Pueblo Children's Chorale was joined by two other choirs, namely, South Mesa Elementary School, directed by Harriet Warren, and Centennial High School's Schola Cantorum also directed by Mead.
To start off the program, the South Mesa choir came on stage accompanied by a recorded song. Seven kids then read from a designated text, one by one. All on stage were barefoot, in the Halloween spirit, I suppose. The first number was Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." They sang with enthusiasm including gestures, Warren directing.
The second number, with more gestures, was accompanied by a recorded song by Jimmy Buffet, "Barefootin," you guessed it. Then followed "Back of the Bus" which looked more like a gym class with all its jumping around and somewhat resembling a square dance, the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Good moves but not much singing, at least that could be heard over the recorded music.
By contrast, the Schola Cantorum group came on stage, resplendent in their costumes, to sing three numbers. They sang a cappella in a nice blend of harmonies. Their number encountered a glitch by the sound boys, but soon to be forgotten by excellent singing with funky gestures accompanied by a recorded band.
In an interval, Christina Anderson, executive director of the Chorale, honored those who supported the efforts that brought about this concert.
The Chorale came on stage to sing three numbers, directed by Mead and accompanied by Lori Judkins on piano. The 40-odd voices provided a nice blend with good projection and phrasing.
The grand finale included all singers from all choirs on stage, about 200 strong to sing "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson. The singing seemed heartfelt as it was appropriate. Altogether a fine show with participants in fine form. The standing ovation was well deserved.
The Chorale will appear in a Christmas concert with the Pueblo Choral Society on Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at Praise Assembly Church.