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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment January 17, 2019


12/11/2018 11:44:00 AM
Chorale brings 'Christmas Joy' to Sisters
By Jim Anderson
Correspondent

The annual Christmas Season concert put on by the Sisters High Desert Chorale at the Sisters Community Church, Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, was quite a treat.

Friday's performance began with the Sisters Bell Choir, under the direction of Lola Knox, playing such favorites as "Carol of the Bells" and "Sleigh Ride." Young Naomi Bennette sang a solo with the bell-ringers when they played "Once Upon a December," and chorale member Marilyn Anthony sang a stirring rendition of "O Holy Night" with them.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the bell choir playing with the singers.

The chorale, led by director Connie Gunterman, began with "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson in honor of the infamous date of December 7, 1941, the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

From there on, the chorale carried the Christmas Joy theme with four beloved tunes: "Sing We Now of Christmas," "Carols Around (and A Round)," John Rutter's "Candlelight Carol," and "Alleluia," by Randall Thompson.

Among the audience showing their appreciation for the chorale's performance were Richard Franklin and his family, who said, "Tonight my wife and two daughters, Victoria and Alexis, attended the Chorale's performance. We quite enjoyed the bell choir. The sound was quite unique, yet familiar in a very soothing manner. Their timing was amazing.

"The singing was also amazing. It really made you feel good, and created a wonderful desire to sing along with each song, remembering the times throughout your life when you sang each of these songs. And for me it is 'Noel.' It is such a moving song, and it stirs your most inner being.

"The sing-a-longs were quite fun. Our daughters really enjoyed it, especially our 10-year-old, Alexis, who got to go on stage with the group and sing 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.' So full of memories."

Donna Moyer, the pianist for the chorale, came with her granddaughter, Joslynn, who made herself useful handing out programs to audience members as they came through the door.

"I love playing for the chorale each year, as I always want to use the talent that God has given me," Moyer said. "I love learning from the many directors I have worked with. Musicians can learn from each other.

"My grandchildren always want to attend the concerts. My granddaughter says she likes to watch my fingers fly over the keys. If I would let them, they would be sitting beside me on the piano bench."

Sunday's performance began with the Sisters Ukulele Players, led by Peggy Tehan. Their first tune was "Here Comes Santa In a Red Canoe." Decked out in colorful Hawaiian shirts, leis and Santa hats, they went on to plunk out such favorites as "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," and "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas," and ended appropriately with "Mele Kalikimaka" - "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian.

After the intermission Sunday, third-graders from Sisters Elementary School, led by music teacher Sara Miller, delighted the audience with "Rock the Holly," and "Let's Make it Shine." They then remained in place as the chorale members joined them in a sing-a-long that included "Jingle Bells," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Deirdre Kanzig, a teacher at Sisters Elementary School, remarked, "Of course I loved hearing my third-grade students sing, but I equally appreciated that the event crossed the generations by including the 9-year-olds all the way through to senior citizens."

Sue Owen and her 11-year-old daughter, Jilly, took part in the Friday-evening performance, and they had this to say to the Chorale: "I want to thank the choir for a lovely evening. The music was well-chosen - Jilly said some of the songs were her favorites - and we both agreed it put us in the Christmas mood. It was a great way to enter into the season. I especially appreciated the quality of the performances. The voices and arrangements were excellent, and we could tell that lots of work went into the production.

"Thank you also for inviting the kids to sing. Jilly is shy but being asked was important to her. We wish you a joy-filled and wonder-abundant Christmas."









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