Park City vocalists are a bunch of Treble Makers
Many people know the classic Christmas songs like they know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen.
So when the Park City Treble Makers, the 16-voice, all-female a cappella choir, plans its string of holiday concerts director Shelle Jennings selects music that is off the beaten path.
“I always look for something different, whether it’s an arrangement or different take on a theme,” Jennings said during a joint interview with the group’s first alto Michal Patten and second soprano’s Renee Mox Hall and Janet Margulies. “While there isn’t a selection of female a cappella music that I would like to have, I’ve tried to jerry-rig things that have worked for us.”
Audiences will get a few opportunities to see and hear the Park City Treble Makers perform these songs during December.
The first concert will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, at Elk Meadows Assisted Living Community, 400 W. 4200 North in Oakley.
“We’ve been performing at Elk Meadows since we began six years ago,” Jennings said. “We have been part of their Christmas program and family members have really enjoyed our performances.”
The next performance will be on Sunday, Dec. 10. This concert is the first of two salon concerts that will be held at 4 p.m. at private homes in Park Meadows. The other concert will be held on Dec. 17.
Both are sold out, and Jennings is thrilled.
“ We did our first salon concert last year and we thought they were a success,” Jennings said. “So we decided to do two this year.”
These concerts will feature a couple of musical guests.
Harpist Tiraje Earnshaw will perform incidental music on Dec. 10.
“She is the daughter-in-law of one of our singers, Colleen Earnshaw,” Jennings said. “She has performed at Abravanel Hall, the Utah State Capitol and Temple Square.”
The harpist also has performed with the Southwest Symphony and other orchestras in the Southern Utah area, according to Jennings.
The guest for the Dec. 17 salon concert will be flutist Alison Griffiths Samuels.
Samuels spent 20 years in the New York metro area as a professional flutist and has since become athird grade music teacher and band director for fourth through eighth grade students at Weilenmann School of Discovery, Jennings said.
“Alison and I will play something during a break between the first and second half of the Treble Makers performances,” she said. “I’ve worked with her throughout the years, but haven’t worked with her for a while. I’m excited that she accepted the invitation to come and join us.”
The Park City Treble Makers’ holiday performances will continue at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Newcomers Club of Greater Park City’s holiday luncheon at Park City Community Church.
This performance, which is free and open to the public, is special for Jennings.
Performing at Newcomers is like coming home because that was the first place we ever sang,” Jennings said. “We are thrilled to go back.”
On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16, the Park City Treble Makers will perform during the Park City Holiday Spectacular and Sing-a-Long at the Egyptian Theatre.
“We were only able to do one show last year, so they asked us if we could do more this year,” Jennings said. “So we are doing two. We’d do more, but there were conflicts in our schedule.”
The Park City Treble Makers will conclude the the season with a party for spouses and significant others.
“Because we are a 16-member choir, we can’t invite our husbands and boyfriends to the salon concerts because we’d fill up the space,” Jennings said with a laugh. “So we asked the men to say home until this concert.”
Patten, Hall and Margulies, who are all original members of the Park City Treble Makers, said performing in an a cappella choir is much different now than when they were younger.
“One of the biggest challenge is memorizing the pieces,” she said. “When we first started, we felt we had a good grasp on the music, but when it came time to sing off-book, I did not remember the words. Now, learning the music is about as easy as it used to be, but memorizing the lyrics is still very difficult.”
Margulies agreed with Patten.
“The memorizing the lyrics, the parts and when to come in is tough,” she said.
Jennings also challenges the singers in other ways as well, Hall said.
“I think the music she selects continues to rank up in the level of complexity, and I think that allows us to do more things,” she said.
Hall remembered performing a difficult medley that included “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” the first year.
“I remember Shelle (Jennings) telling us how amazed she was that we got it,”Hall said. “Now, looking back at that piece, it all seemed very elementary. So I’m thankful to say that we surprised her.”
This year, the Park City Treble Makers will perform an arrangement of “Jingle Bells” that Margulies said will surprise the audiences.
“The rhythm is very complex to the point that I would say that there is an architectural command to it,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s fast. It’s unexpected and I think people will enjoy hearing it.”
Jennings, who thanked Randy Barton of the Egyptian Theatre and KPCW, the Park City Rotary and the Park City Sunrise Rotary Club for their support, is happy to challenge her singers.
“There is such pleasure and professionalism that has grown and matured in this group,” she said. “I think they may outgrow me in the next couple of years.”
For information about the Park City Treble Makers, visit https://www.facebook.com/parkcitytreblemakers.
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