Christmas Party – 2015

20151229_Christmas_Party_20151229-210002  December 29, 2015

What should a chorus do when they find themselves with a normal rehearsal night off at the conclusion of yet another semester of fantastic concert and special events? Why, celebrate, of course! And so, the chorus members gathered with their spouses and significant others to do just that.

With over 50 of us in attendance, we gathered on an unseasonably warm December 29th evening and took over the back serving area at the PC Pub in Pennsburg. Lindee Fitting, Jackie Lauchnor, Emily Hoff, Terry Hughley and Darcy McConahy had the place festively (and deliciously) decorated with holiday cake-pops. And if that wasn’t enough treats, other choir members provided more desserts for everyone’s enjoyment.

The early-birds chatted away as we sorted ourselves into our seats. Once settled in, our VCS Board President Jamie Westcott warmly welcomed us and thanked us for our participation and service to the chorus. Pastor Richard Miller, who is also one of our tenors, followed with a thankful blessing. Our Managing Director Darcy McConahy kept the evening going with announcements, her sharp wit, and funny anecdotes throughout the evening.

Celebrating a fantastic singing semester would not be possible without excellent concerts… and that would not be possible without great leadership. So a presentation was made to Patricia Conrad, Artistic Director and Conductor, and Andrew Long, Assistant Director and Accompanist, to show our thanks for their hard work and dedication in guiding the choir this past concert season.

Filled with a wonderful meal (thanks, Josephine and the PC Pub staff!), holiday excitement, comradery, and a renewed spirit, we set off for our homes. Time to put away the holiday music, and break out the new music for our two Spring concerts. We hope we see all of you there! (And if you sing… why not come out and join us?)

 

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Winter Concert – 2015

December 12-13, 2015

This past weekend, December 12th and 13th, Valley Choral Society presented our winter concerts at St. Mark Church in Pennsburg on Saturday evening and at Trinity Lutheran Church in Perkasie on Sunday afternoon. We are pleased to report that both performances were well attended by many family members, friends, and patrons. Although we sing simply for sheer enjoyment, it was gratifying to share the fruits of our 15 weeks of rehearsals with a full house of friendly faces who appreciated our musical contributions.

Most of the selections were led by our talented artistic director and conductor, Patricia Conrad. She so loves to sing and was happy to join us in a piece under the lead of our assistant conductor, Andrew Long, who is also our very proficient accompanist on piano and organ. He is also a member of the Ensemble, a smaller select group within the chorus. Sarah Brown, our other accompanist for the past seven years, unexpectedly left last month to relocate to Florida for a new employment position. Pat filled in to ably accompany the chorus on piano on a piece that Drew conducted. We are fortunate to have two such multi-talented leaders guiding our musical efforts.

Our concert offerings reflected the theme, An American Christmas, and showcased six works by American composer, Z. Randall Stroope. These included his arrangement of “All My Heart This Night Rejoices,” our opening number sung from the balcony by the Ensemble. They then joined the rest of the choir below in processing up the church aisle singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful, ” while audience members added their voices using the hymnals in the pews to follow along. From our places in the sanctuary, we shared two longer works by Stroope. The first, “American Christmas,” weaves American tunes such as the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” and the Appalachian carol “I Wonder As I Wander” into the piece and highlighted Doug Slemmer and Gayle Willouer as soloists. Several singers then retreated to the balcony to present an capella responsorial chant “O Magnum Mysterium,” along with the larger group in front, effecting an ethereal sound.

Following intermission, the second portion of our program began with three Ensemble pieces. “Verbum caro factum est,” a moving Stroope arrangement in Latin and English text, Irving Berlin’s well known “White Christmas” and another Stroope composition, “Joy Shall Be Yours in the Morning.” Audience members then joined in the hymn “Angels from the Realms of Glory” while the rest of the chorus filed in for the final section of the concert. This included the last Stroope offering “The Best of Rooms” as well as holiday favorites “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with soloist, Mary Lee Slemmer, “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” “Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! and our encore number “Sleigh Ride.” Although the weather was unusually warm this weekend, we don’t really want to encourage winter, as one of our concerts last December had to be cancelled due to a snowstorm.

We are grateful to our numerous advertisers and patrons who support our mission to produce outstanding choral music. We aim to entertain and inspire you, our audience, and hope you will return again and again to enjoy our performances. Another incentive to attend is that we always invite audiences to join in our post-concert receptions to enjoy tasty refreshments displayed with an artistic flair. Keep in mind our upcoming free pops concerts on Sundays March 6 and 13, 2016 when we will present Sentimental Journey, music of the 1940’s. Our spring concerts on May 14 and 15, 2016, Good News, will feature spirituals and gospel music. We hope to see you then!

— Camilla Lange

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Music from the Heart – 2015

Music from Heart   November 14, 2015

On Saturday, November 14, 2015 Valley Choral Society presented Music from the Heart: Melodies from the Met to MGM, an evening of dining and song at Generations of Indian Valley banquet facility in Souderton. The 160 attendees were treated to a tasty sit-down dinner prepared by Christopher Lutz, one of our own. Seven talented members of the chorus including director, Patricia Conrad, and aptly accompanied by assistant director and accompanist, Andrew Long, entertained with solos, duets, a quartet and entire ensemble numbers. The group opened with “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “They Say (that falling in love) It’s Wonderful”. The music varied, with opera arias “O Mio Babbino Caro” sung by Pat , “Amor” offered by Kirk Walters, and a 16th century love song “Amarilli” by Dick Lampe.

Each of the singers performed solos from musical productions such as BrigadoonMy Fair LadyPal Joey, South Pacific, and the musical film, On the Town. There were many Broadway melodies such as “Broadway Baby” from Follies, belted out by Alexis Cuff who donned a feathery boa around her neck and “Being Alive” from Company. She and Peter Hemperly joined in sharing “The Colors of My Life” from Barnum. Darcy McConahy voiced music from West Side Story. Jay Poko gave a heartfelt rendition of  “There But For You Go I” from Brigadoon, Pete sang “This Nearly Was Mine” from South Pacific. Kirk, Dick, Pete, and Jay blended in the barbershop quartet number Lida Rose from Music Man, surrounding Pat while she sang along. The finale featured a medley of pieces that Valley Choral will perform at their free March Pops concert, “Sentimental Journey”, which showcases music of the 1940’s. Audience members gave the singers and accompanist a rousing standing ovation, in appreciation for an enjoyable and memorable musical event.

— Camilla Lange

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Quakertown Days – 2015

20151017_Quakertown_20151017-000004 October 17, 2015

On Saturday, October 17, 2015 members of Valley Choral Society participated in Quakertown’s Autumn Alive! community festival, along with crafters, vendors, other musicians, and a dog costume contest. We have a connection to Quakertown in that our director, Patricia Conrad, is music director at United Church of Christ there. Despite the unusually cold, blustery day, we sang many songs from our concerts last season including Beatles songs, standing sheltered from the wind in the town center band shell. The audience appreciated our efforts with applause which warmed our hearts. We were glad to have been invited to take part in this community event and share the joy of music.

— Camilla Lange

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Phillies – 2012

bm_2012-07-21-15.53.37    July 20, 2012

Saturday afternoon, July 20, 2012, saw the VCS heading to yet another baseball game to sing the National Anthem.  This time, it was for the Philadelphia Phillies.  While some of us boarded a bus at UPHS for the trip to Citizens Park, others were heading there in their cars.  We got together by the gate and were escorted down into the core of the stadium.  A quick change into our casual uniforms and we were ready to warm up.  Our warm up area wasn’t the most glamorous of locations – a service corridor!  We had to stop a couple of times to let staff, the Honor Guard, and a couple of fork lifts go by.  But we still sounded darn good down there!  With our pipes warmed up, we headed for the tunnel that leads to the 3rd base side of the field.  Once we got the signal, we headed out in front of over 43,000 people!

Of course, no trip to the field is complete without a visit from the Phanatic!  After trying to lead us and join us, he decided to show his affection by kissing the hands of a couple of our sopranos and altos… and a big kiss for one of our tenors!

The weather was perfect for the game.  Mid 70’s with some cloud cover and some nice breezes.  It was a nice day for a nice game.  The Phils played well… but so did the Giants.  They beat our Phils in the 10th 5 to 4.  I guess we should have sung a bit louder.

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