Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Choral Concert at Greenwich High School

This annual event is always a favorite with your scribe. The talent of our local students, under the direction of Patrick Taylor, is truly awesome to hear and behold. Of that extraordinary talent, more later.

The large Concert Choir began the program with the bright and bouncing "Sleigh Ride". Next followed the gently-flowing Israeli love song, Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses), which mentions myrrh, spices, and frankincense. Next was a version of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day by John Garder, which was new to your scribe, followed by the light-hearted "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Their finale, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", is still echoing in your scribe's head the next morning. The Concert Choir's antiphonal and tonal versatility throughout were highly commendable.

The Witchmen male chorus is always popular with students and parents alike. Their style can range from traditional choral to barber shop, and each member of the group is poised and focused to a remarkable degree. No doubt every one of them could have sung the solo performed by Nick Carter; it is a tribute to their musicianship that they can blend together in such a lovely, unegotistical way.

The same can be said of the Madrigals, whose lively performance of "Winter Wonderland" brought the Christmas spirit alive. John Rutter's "Candlelight Carol" was sung with a rich, gorgeous intensity that milked the beauty of John's piece for all it was worth. Your scribe sang under him when he came to Greenwich in 1985, and can avouch for the fact that he would have been highly pleased to have heard the Madrigals' rendition. Their finale, "All I Want for Christmas is You," again showed the ability of these young singers to focus all their talent and energy to follow the inerrantly skillful direction of Patrick Taylor. He gave them a thumbs-up afterward, which one takes to mean that he was pleased with their performance.

The Chamber Singers, of course, beggar all description. They tackle some of the most difficult music ever written for the human voice, and make it all seem ever so easy. The Italians have a word for this: sprezzatura. Look it up and learn it if you don't already know it.

Randall Thompson's "Glory to God in the Highest" showed off the breathtaking musicality and control of this group. "Hymne de Noel" showed off their exquisite French diction, which surely would have wowed Leo Delibes himself had he been lucky enough to be there. The utterly gorgeous pianissimos showed an astounding level of vocal control: impossibly soft, crystal-clear, and utterly on pitch. Rubino's arrangement of Mel Torme's well-known "The Christmas Song" is a real tour-de-force, demanding a level of rhythmic and vocal skill that highlighed the talents of these youngsters; it was sung from memory, so that all the singers could focus their full attention on Patrick. Finally, they reminded us that "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," and it's time to clean up our act for the holiday season.

The conclusion, as always, was the "Hallelujah Chorus" from The Messiah. Thankfully, the audience remembered Patrick's words from earlier years about the various stories surrounding why King George II got up during the first performance (a weak bladder?), and remained seated. A volunteer String Ensemble of hugely talented GHS students provided the accompaniment, which hitherto had been provided by the Amazing Ali Allerton, pianist extraordinaire.

It was recently announced that no fewer than twelve of Patrick Taylor's singers have been selected for the All-Eastern Honors Chorus, setting a record for a single school. Your scribe is not surprised. We probably have the finest high school music program in the country right here in Greenwich. It is one of our Town's greatest treasures, and if you have not yet heard these young people perform, dear reader, you have a wonderful treat coming. Mark your calendars for the Spring Choral Concert on March 25, and the Pops Choral Concert on June 3. You'll be glad you did!

4 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

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December 12, 2008 2:05 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hmmm...Susan's profile says she joined Blogger in November 2008, doesn't have a blog, but already has 1,531 profile views?!

Something doesn't jibe here. I think I've been spammed by a bot. Oh, well, at least it's a well-spoken bot.

December 12, 2008 10:41 AM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

Bill! Happy Holidays and all of that good stuff. Have not heard from you in ages. Hope all is well in the world of Greenwich and that you are enjoying every bit of it.

December 14, 2008 9:34 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, M.I.!

Good to hear from you! I've been working on my book and haven't had much time for my blogbuddies.

The book is finally on Amazon.com. Type 978-1436375788 in the search box to see what it's all about.

And stay in touch!

December 14, 2008 1:16 PM  

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