Concerts prepare youth choir for national festival

Saturday concert dedicated to choir founder Bob Norman

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2002

The Alaska Youth Choir is headed to New Orleans this summer to participate in a national choir festival.

This weekend the choir delivers two Juneau concerts featuring songs prepared for the performance at the Crescent City Choral Festival in June.

The first Juneau concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Northern Light United Church downtown.

There will be a repeat performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Chapel by the Lake near Auke Lake.

"The theme is one of peace and a vision of hope for the future," said choir conductor Missouri Smyth. The repertoire was written by composers from around the world and includes a tribute to Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.

The concert Saturday is dedicated to Bob Norman, who founded the Alaska Youth Choir in 1994. Norman died last month in Eugene, Ore.

A Juneau music teacher and an active member of the local musical community for many years, Norman left Juneau for Oregon about 1997. While there he founded a men's chorus and worked with the Oregon Children's Choir Festival.

"The concert is going to be a dedicated to his memory," Smyth said. "There will be a celebration of his life immediately afterward. We have videos of him conducting the choir and folks will be speaking about him."

The choir will sing a song in tribute to Norman, a song he wrote the lyrics to.

Smyth worked with Norman in the early years of the Alaska Youth Choir, serving as the accompanist. She became choir director four seasons ago. Lorrie Heagy and Jacque Farnsworth serve as accompanists.

About 35 choristers perform in the concert choir.

Tickets to the concert are $20 per family, $8 for adults and $5 seniors and children.

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