Juneau Lyric Opera concert features local chorus and musicians

Juneau Lyric Opera concert features local chorus and musicians

Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008

Local musicians and vocalists will get together this weekend to perform a selection of holiday favorites in Juneau Lyric Opera's Holiday Pops concert.

Courtesy of Molly Widmann
Courtesy of Molly Widmann

A community chorus, directed by Sally Smith, will sing songs both contemporary and sacred, and will be accompanied by Lorrie Heagy on piano and Dan Hopson on guitar, as well as the Juneau Brass. The chorus, consisting of 48 vocalists both new and experienced, was open to anyone in the community who wanted to attend rehearsals and perform.

"This is your friends and neighbors presenting a Christmas gift of song," Smith said.

The concert will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13, at Chapel by the Lake. It will also be performed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

"We have a really good mix of those who have been singing for a long time and those like myself who haven't performed as much," said chorus member Johna Rossetti, who moved to Juneau a year ago. "It's so great because everyone is welcome and I never felt intimidated."

The community chorus will begin the program with "White Christmas," followed by familiar carols "Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bells."

"It's very social and it's people helping each other," said Juneau Lyric Opera veteran Steve McPhetres. McPhetres will sing the solo "Home for The Holidays."

Other vocal soloists include Dana Strommen in "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," Cheryl Bschor in the jazz-inspired "The Christmas Song," Brett Crawford in "Cantique de Noel," Cheryl Crawford in Schubert's "Ave Maria," and Janet Sanbei performing the 16th-century melody "Lo! How a Rose."

Hopson will accompany the soloists on guitar on some of the selections. He will also perform solo on "Muirland Willie/Greensleeves" and "Villancico de Navidad" and provide accompaniment for the chorus in Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

The women's ensemble - made up of Francis Field, Malinda League and Cathy Pashigian - will sing "Santa Baby," and the men's ensemble - John Clough, Brett Crawford, Jon Pollard and Guy Warren - will sing "The Chipmunk Song."

Pollard, who has worked with Juneau Lyric Opera before but has not done a Holiday Pops concert until this year, is looking forward to performing for the community.

"I love Christmas music, especially 'The Chipmunk Song,'" Pollard said. "A lot of my friends are performing in this. And I want the holiday performance to be something the Juneau community will come to and enjoy."

The concert will end with the chorus and Juneau Brass performing "Joy to the World," following a series of instrumental selections including "Here We Come a Wassailing" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

"Juneau Lyric Opera offers an opportunity for people in the community who like to sing to do a performance," Smith said. "This is warmth of voice and instrumentals in a local setting that's person-to-person."

Juneau Lyric Opera, supported by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and the community, has been active for over 30 years, and presents concerts and workshops throughout the year.

Smith said she is grateful to Juneau-Douglas High School, Northern Light United Church and the Juneau Oratorical Society for the loan of music. She also credits producer and Juneau Lyric Opera board member Guy Warren for helping with the logistics of the performance.

"This is an opportunity for people to come together and get into the spirit of the season through music," she said.

Tickets to Juneau Lyric Opera's Holiday Pops are on sale at Hearthside Books.

• Molly Widmann can be reached at ollymae1980@yahoo.com.

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