OH, THE SOUND OF MUSIC by Barbara Biddison
It has been a long time since Wellsboro Women's Chorus and Wellsboro Men's Chorus all sang together in our practice room. The "it brings tears to your eyes" and "joy to your heart" sound is back! The last two chorus practices have overlapped for about 15 or 20 minutes. We are joining voices for a few songs. I have been especially moved by "One
Voice," which, of course. begins with a solo baritone and moves on to the end where "Everyone will sing! We will sing." And by the time we get to the end , all the men and women in the room are singing. It is powerful. And then I look at the director Christina Simonis's face as she takes us all to the end of this song, and she is so "there," so moved by the sound of music in this simple practice room. It moves me deeply too every time.
The concert that we are preparing for will be at the high school on Saturday night, April 30th. The guys are celebrating 75 years of being the Wellsboro Men's Chorus. At the moment I can't call up the date of the Women's Chorus beginning, but I know that I have been singing with them since 1982. The "surround sound" is not new to me. The men, and women have joined voices at many an "after-glo" following a concert and in front of the Arcadia toward the end of a long Dickens Day where we always conclude together with "Let There Be Peace On Earth" and we link arms with each other and a street full of visitors.
There are so many stories here. Our long-time and faithful directors, and our very long-time accompanists, and the trips, and the uniforms, and the scholarships that we give to encourage the younger singers. And the April 30th concert will also feature other choruses and choirs of varying affiliations and ages.. At a joint rehearsal a couple weeks ago, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by the press. As I looked up from my music I would find Natalie Kennedy pointing her camera at one singer or another as she danced around the room on a mission to capture it all. The April 21 Wellsboro Gazette carries photos and stories galore. This is a celebration of our love of music.
[Note: The Hamilton-Gibson Youth Choir is singing at the celebration this Saturday; along with the WAHS Men's Choir and the Butler Middle School Boys, plus one or two out-of-town male choruses.]