Park City Singers concerts will spread some Christmas cheer
For more than 20 years the Park City Singers have brought musical joy to local audiences with their Christmas concerts.
The choir’s vice president, Renee Mox Hall, said these concerts have not only become traditions for the singers themselves, but for audiences as well.
"It has been a long time and I can’t remember if we only performed one concert or performed multiple ones," Hall said during an interview with The Park Record. "We love to see people who come year after year and new audience members, and I have friends who want to know when the concerts will be so they will be in town and not away on vacation or doing work."
The Park City Singers, directed by Debra Cook, will continue its traditional Christmas concert run with a performance at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Dec. 13, and a second performance at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Dec. 18. The signing will start at 7 p.m.
For choir member Marty Statin, these Christmas concerts are special because of the type of music performed.
"I’ve been thinking about that a lot as I’ve been listening to the music, especially with so many hard things that are happening in the world today," Statin said. "The music is so restorative to the soul, especially during the Christmas season when families come together. It’s just a wonderful thing for us and it really helps us all to realize the power of what we can gain back."
Hall speaks from experience. She remembers missing a few concerts in the past, and the effect it had on her.
"There was a time when I had an art gallery on Main Street and since the gallery was my total focus I did have to leave Singers for about eight years," Hall said. "I found during the holiday season that Christmas was missing, because the singing was missing. It showed me how important the performances were to my life.
"I maybe perhaps can say this on behalf of other choir members when I say since our youths, we have been participating in Christmas concerts and that has become a critical part of the Christmas experience," she said.
The programs prepared for this year’s concerts feature a combination of songs everyone knows and some that are less familiar, Statin said.
"We’ll perform ‘Adeste Fideles’ and ‘Away in a Manger’ and then we’ll have some children from the community who will perform a carol with us," she said. "We also will perform a couple of works by Handel that are particularly moving at this time of the year. And we will sing some songs for kids and adults who like to have fun at Christmastime."
The performances will include some soloists, Hall added.
"One of our soloists, Gloria Edward, has just a beautiful, soaring voice," Hall said.
The lesser-known songs are ones that originate from different countries, but are just as beautiful as the familiar pieces, Hall said.
"For instance, our second number is ‘Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine,’ a traditional German carol from 1544," she said. "We are also performing a song from West India called ‘The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy.’ Once again, this may not be familiar with people, but it is such a beautiful piece."
Still, even the well-known pieces will feature unique arrangements, Hall said.
"’Angels We Have Heard On High’ will be performed this way and we will also do an a cappella version of ‘Silent Night,’ which is very challenging for us," she said. "We’re also doing a couple of Hanukkah songs that are favorites for some of the singers."
Throughout the past two decades, Statin has seen the quality of the Park City Singers improve exponentially.
"This happens each year because we learn what does and doesn’t work," she said. "So, both the choir and Debra take steps to make it better."
Since the choir is non audition, many of the singers have come and gone, and some have returned, Statin said.
"This year, we have a few people who have rejoined who were in the choir maybe seven or eight years ago and had to leave for one reason or another," she said. "We’ve had some people who have moved away and have come back."
The choir also has a fair number of new members.
"I’d say we have between 12 or 15 new members," Statin said. "That’s nice, because that’s the nature of people who like to sing and can sing. We all wouldn’t be here if we didn’t want to be."
Another change this year is accompanist Jacob Lobrot, a junior at Park City High School.
Lobrot is a past winner of the Con Brio Piano Festival and has been awarded the Outstanding Advanced Musician Award form the Heber Valley Piano Festival and placed in the Summer Arts Piano Concerto Competition at the University of Utah, according to Statin.
He has also performed at the Temple Square Assembly Hall, the Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah and was selected to perform during an honors recital for the Utah Federation of Music Teachers.
"I think to have someone in this community of that talent and ability is just special for us. That is something we are thankful for," she said.
The Park City Singers will perform two Christmas Concerts this year. The first will be at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4595 N. Silver Springs Dr., on Sunday, Dec. 13. The second will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Rd., on Friday, Dec. 18. Both concerts will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets are available at Smith’s Marketplace at Kimball Junction, from a choir member or online at http://www.parkcitysingers.com . Tickets will be $15 at the door the night of the performances.
Utah’s Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal will perform her book-length work ‘West: A Translation’ Thursday at the Kimball Art Center