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“Sonora Sings Classical” to Hold Second Event

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Date(s) - 03/18/2018
2:00 pm

The Red Church-St. James Episcopal


“Sonora Sings Classical”, a Tuolumne-County-based organization supporting classical choral music, will be holding its second event on Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, 42 Snell Street, Sonora, CA.  The event will feature the reading of “classics” from the choral-music heritage by the audience and accompanied by piano. Composers to be featured include Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Lauridsen and others. Retired Columbia College professor of music, John Carter, will lead the singers with pianists Dorothy Arndt, Diane Day and Gail Johnson.  Those not wishing to sing are invited to attend and listen.  There is no charge for admission but a freewill offering will be taken for the accompanists.  For more information email sonorasingsclassical@gmail.com.

Sonora Sings Classical is holding its second reading of classical choral music.  The event, officially titled “Sonora Sings Classical, II” (to identify the fact that this is their second event), will feature some of the finest choral music ever written.   The pieces, covering the Renaissance through the Modern Era, will feature the audience of singers reading through many favorites accompanied by piano.   Begun as an idea of Groveland resident, Barbara Broad, the event is a chance for singers to sing through music without extensive rehearsal.   “This event is a wonderful chance to sing some of the most beautiful and thrilling music ever written for choirs,” says Broad.  “We wanted to design an event that gave the music a chance to be enjoyed by community singers and by those who just want to listen”.

Music will be provided for the singers.   After a brief introduction of each piece, the audience will read through the piece and then move on to the next piece.  The concept is modeled after Philadelphia lawyer and choral-music enthusiast, Henry Drinker (1880-1965) who arranged music evenings in his large, Philadelphia home.  He would arrange for a few, highly-trained vocalists to attend, acquire an accompanist, select the music to be read through that evening, and then invite interested singers; it was never the same group.  At intermission he and his wife would provide a meal for the group often numbering 100!

Says Broad, “While we are not providing a meal, we would LOVE to have 100 singers”.

The afternoon will consist of 21 pieces representing composers of all the historical eras- Renaissance through the Modern era.  Board member and conductor for the afternoon, John Carter, said “We tried to pick some music that was familiar to experienced choral singers, some music that was relatively easy for some singers, but overall music that is inspiring to sing and music that represents masterpieces worth perpetuating”.   Music to be sung includes “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” by Brahms; “And the Glory of the Lord” by Handel; “Ave Verum Corpus” and “Lacrimosa” by Mozart; “He Watching Over Israel” by Mendelssohn; “The Heavens Are Telling” by Haydn; “Dirait-on” by Lauridsen.

The complete afternoon program will feature the following pieces:

Gloria, from Gloria                                                                           Antonio Vivaldi

How Lovely Are the Messengers, from St. Paul                       Felix Mendelssohn

Ave Verum Corpus                                                                      Amadeus Mozart

Wondrous Cool, Thou Woodland                                               Johannes Brahms

And the Glory, from Messiah                                             George Friderik Handel

Lacrymosa,from Requiem                                           Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ave Maria (Bogoroditze Devo), from Vespers                       Sergei Rachmaninov

Cum Sancto Spiritu, from Gloria                                                     Antonio Vivaldi

Dirait-Ton                                                                                    Morten Lauridsen

Alleluia                                                                                      Randall Thompson

Lift Thine Eyes, from Elijah                                                       Felix Mendelssohn

He Watching over Israel, from Elijah                                         Felix Mendelssohn

Zum Sanctus (“Heilig, heilig , heilig”), from German Mass             Franz Schubert

Sure on This Shining Night                                                             Samuel Barber

Lift Up Your Heads, from Messiah                                     George Friderik Handel

Awake the Harp, from The Creation                                      Franz Joseph Haydn

The Water is Wide                                                                    arranged by Pooler

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, from A German Requiem   Johannes Brahms

Lead Me, Lord                                                                                    S. S. Wesley

The Lord Bless You and Keep You                                                     Peter Lutkin

The Heavens Are Telling, from The Creation                        Franz Joseph Haydn

“Our last event was so much fun! Just singing those great familiar pieces with my neighbors and friends, for the sheer pleasure of making music is so wonderful” says Sonora Sings Classical Board member, Jennie Moiso.

Ms. Broad expressed her enthusiasm for the event:

“I love Mr. Drinker’s description:  ‘We realize the vast “step up” in musical enjoyment between the mere listening to a finished performance and actual participation, with reverence and enthusiasm, in a much less perfect one’.

We really do hope that many will “step up” and enjoy this afternoon as singers-or listeners.”


Three women will share the accompanying for the afternoon.

“We are so appreciative of the accompanists who have agreed to play for this event”, says Carter. “These ladies are some of the finest pianists in the Central California area; we are so fortunate to have them living here and for being so willing to participate in so many musical events in our community”.

Dorothy Woodford Arndt, began her accompanying career in junior high school and moved on to accompany other groups at UC Berkeley where she graduated.  In the Sierra Foothills she has been accompanist for Sierra Repertory Theater and Sierra Bible Church.  She has also been a pianist and accompanist for the Sonora Bach Festival since the early years, as well as serving on the Board.  Dorothy has been featured frequently in various aspects in the St. James’ Concert Series, including a solo concert in February 1999.  While serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Philippines for two years, she gave a concert at the Union Church of Manila and repeated the performance in Sonora in April 1997.  She studied with Dr. Stephen Thomas, formerly at Stanislaus State University, for seven years and accompanied the Columbia College community chorus for almost 15 years.

Pianist Diane Day, rehearsal accompanist, has lived in Murphys, California, for over twenty-five years. During this time she has been actively involved in accompanying, teaching, and performing with area groups.  She earned her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Biola University. She has enjoyed performing home concerts with the Canyon Quartet.  For a number of years, Diane was an accompanist for vocal majors at California State University Stanislaus (CSUS) and recently retired from accompanying the Columbia College Community Chorus.

Gail Johnson, pianist, is a true champion of the arts in Tuolumne County since moving here after graduating from California State University -Fullerton with a B.M. in Piano. As a pianist and accompanist Johnson has performed extensively including the Red Church Concert series.  As  a  teacher, Johnson teaches private piano, and as a staff accompanist at Columbia College taught class piano and accompanied soloists, the College Choir and the Columbia College Community Chorus. As an Arts enthusiast, she has served on the boards of SRT, Sonora Bach Festival, MYACT Children’s Theatre, and was Coordinator of the Sierra Arts Council (now Tuolumne County Arts Alliance) for five years during its inception.

“Sonora Sings Classical”

Sonora Sings Classical is a relatively new organization formed to encourage the singing of Classical Choral Music in the Central Mother Lode.  The Board is made up of three members: Barbara Broad, who holds a degree in Choral Conducting from Occidental College, a former member of the Columbia College Community Chorus, Director of Music at the Church of the 49ers and founder/leader of Central Sierra Threshold Singers- a hospice choir; Jennie Moiso Board Member of the Columbia College Community Chorus and the Sonora Bach Festival; John Carter retired professor of Columbia College, Sonora, CA. More information about the event or the organization can be gained by emailing sonorasingsclassical@gmail.com