Park City Treble Makers approaches a chord change | ParkRecord.com

Park City Treble Makers approaches a chord change

From left: Colleen Earnshaw, the new director of the Park City Treble Makers, shares a laugh with second soprano Renee Mox Hall and first alto Linda Humbert. The Park City Treble Makers, a 16-voice female a cappella choir, will perform its spring concert on Sunday, June 2, at the Park City Community Church. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

The Park City Treble Makers has turned a new page in its music book.

The 16-voice female a cappella choir is under new leadership after founder and director Shelle Jennings announced she was stepping down last winter.

Jennings' successor, Colleen Earnshaw, will make her spring-concert debut as director at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, at Park City Community Church.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. The money will benefit the Community for Children's Justice, a nonprofit that supports the Summit County Children's Justice Center.

Some of the music is music we have performed before, and some of it presents new challenges to the singers...”Colleen Earnshaw,Park City Treble Makers director

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Earnshaw said the concert will build on the foundation and legacy that Jennings established five years ago.

"Some of the music is music we have performed before, and some of it presents new challenges to the singers," said Earnshaw, during a joint interview with singers Renee Mox Hall and Linda Humbert. "We have a fun program, and the ladies execute it well."

The concert, which will kick off with "The Star-Spangled Banner," will feature some spirituals — "Down in the River to Pray," and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

"We will perform another spiritual with "Ave Maria," that we have sung before, and it's just gorgeous," Earnshaw said. "And we'll sing Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah,' which I think pulls to a lot of people."

The concert will also feature "Lullaby Broadway" from the Tony Award-winning musical "42nd Street," "Scarborough Fair," "Loch Lomond," "Danny Boy," The Beatles' "When I'm 64" and the classic Dixieland tune, "Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home."

"That is a rhythmically intricate piece and difficult to do, but it sounds fabulous," Earnshaw said, of "Bill Bailey."

Another rhythmic song on the list is "Bring Me Little Water Sylvie," which features body percussion.

"In addition to clapping, we do some stomping and we use our hands to do some brushing on our thighs," said Mox Hall, one of the group's second soprano.

The group started practicing the rhythm during its first rehearsal under Earnshaw.

"It has been a challenge for a bunch of ladies, but we're pulling it off," Earnshaw said.

Another popular song in the program is "Natural Woman," a solo by Katrina Kmak.

"The singers are going to be the backup and we'll let Katrina take the spotlight," Earnshaw said.

The last time the Park City Treble Makers sang "Natural Woman" was at Kmak's wedding last year, Earnshaw said.

In addition to Earnshaw, there have been other changes in the Park City Treble Makers.

"We had to replace four voices," she said. "We had to find a replacement for me, and then we had another singer retire and two more move. So we did auditions and got new people into the group."

One new voice was first alto Linda Humbert, who has been a fan of the group for years.

"I've been watching the Park City Treble Makers and kept thinking that it was something that I would love to do," said Humbert, who was a member of another group, the Sweet Adelines. "I was a nurse and had an erratic schedule, so between rehearsals and performances and my career, it would be a trick to plan anything."

Plus, Humbert knew the only chance she would get to audition was if the group had an opening.

"Everything needed to come together at the right moment," she said.

A few months ago, it did.

"I retired (from nursing), and there was an opening for my part and I auditioned," she said.

Mox Hall, who has been with the Park City Treble Makers since the group's inception in 2012, said new singers like Humbert bring fresh energy to the veterans.

"Certainly we miss those who had to move on for whatever reason, but it's invigorating to me that we can adapt to new voices and personalities," Mox Hall said. "But I will say that the people who join our group always seem to fit musically and from a personality standpoint."

Personalities are just as important as singing talent, Mox Hall said.

"If we didn't have that congeniality, I think this group would be rather different," she said. "With a smaller group like ours, with 16 voices, you need to be cohesive in your purpose and approach. I don't think we have room for prima donnas."

Earnshaw said she is looking forward to leading the Park City Treble Makers to the future.

"I want to bring in more variety of contemporary music and things we haven't been done in the past," she said.

Stil, Earnshaw wants to stay true to Jenning's legacy.

"I will never take over for what she's done," Earnshaw said. "I can only follow in her footsteps, but I work with some great ladies who are wonderful and work so hard at what we do."

The work is harder with an a cappella group, she said.

"There is nothing you can hide behind," Earnshaw said with a smile. "Some ladies in the second row like to think they're hiding, but they really aren't. Everyone has to stay on pitch and trust each other."

The Park City Treble Makers will perform a spring concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, at Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. The money will benefit the Community for Children’s Justice, a nonprofit that supports the Summit County Children’s Justice Center. For information, visit http://www.facebook.com/parkcitytreblemakers.