Impressed by the Spring Concert of the Rotary Community Chorus
Published 11:27 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023
The Spring Concert of the Rotary Community Chorus was long, but worth every minute. As they do so often, they allow (yea, encourage!) imported acts to upstage them. This time it was the Polk County High School percussion ensemble, led by Ms. Cindy Gilbert, who turned various small groups loose to play on their own with unusual precision.
I want to mention, for many who may not know, that the Steinway concert grand piano (and the 7-foot Steinway at the local community college) were given by the citizens of Polk County. Same for the expensive percussion instruments on stage today—they also sent Cindy to school to learn how to teach playing them.
Chorus Director Dr. Szafron chose up-tempos (must I say tempi? C’mon!) for all of the pieces he led, and Makena was right on with clear (never muddy) accompaniments to all. Everyone had one eye on Dr. Szafron and the other on their music (I suppose), for I did not hear any miscues or unwanted solos!
I also need to acknowledge the dedication of Richard Hall in getting everything to work today. I had tuned the piano as usual on Monday morning, but it was offstage, right next to its protective box.
There were several conflicting demands on the space last week, and Richard was hard-pressed to accommodate everyone. The new HVAC system was not programmed to maintain a constant temperature in the auditorium, so the piano was wildly out of tune.
When they moved the piano onstage, for the chorus rehearsal Monday evening, it was again wildly out of tune. Richard assured me that he had managed to get the HVAC to maintain a constant temperature and that I could safely tune Friday morning for the Sunday concert.
The “Old and New” concert began with a nod to the coronation of King Charles III, followed by Vivaldi’s Gloria and other “old standards.” Next we were treated to “Tico Tico” by a group of PCHS players, followed by two Spirituals to end the “Old.”
The “New” started with a medley from the musical Hamilton. It was a bit too new for these old ears, for Richard Rogers it is NOT. Then Ms. Gilbert brought out her percussion ensemble players. Their sound is not Rogers, either, but was much more listenable for me.
Jaden Atkins added wonderful tympani punctuation to Handel’s Coronation music. I believe it was Laura Packer whose marimba and bass sax were noticeable, to say the least. I don’t really want to single out any of the great PCHS kids who played so well in their ensembles, but I have known Laura since she was a little girl selling her “Wacky Whirlers” at the WNC Air Museum Air Fair. This 93-year-old wants you to know that he is proud of all of you!
Garland O. Goodwin, retired aero engineer and still active piano technician