Thursday, May 28, 2009
New Ark Chorale sings in the dark
The sixth “American Tapestry” concert of the New Ark Chorale was played without light. The power at the Newark church cut out ten minutes after the singing began and no one – including Music Director Michael Larkin, the singers, or the pianist missed a lick. The song was How Can I Keep From Singing?
Pianist Wendy McNally played on in fading light and missed not a note as enthusiastic volunteers waved bright flashlights onto her music. Her playing was excellent the entire time. If your eyes had been closed you would not have known anything was amiss.
Kevin Muccheti, a high school senior, won the New Ark Chorale scholarship and played Chopin’s Polonaise Opus 26, No. 1 in the dark as well – to great applause. The New Ark Chorale presented him with a check for $2,500 toward his music education studies.
Guest artists Skip Roerich played percussion and John Gordon bass. Both were particularly effective as a walking bass introduction to Down By The Riverside,
a surprising arrangement by John Rutter with some great ragtime phrases for pianist Wendy McNally.
The second half of the concert saw the chorale at the back of the church allowing the singers to take advantage of the last bits of daylight for Larkin’s rearrangement of some of Ray Conniff’s famous love song medleys.
Longtime Chorale member and alto, Adele Knopf said, “There was never a doubt that the show would go on. Sunday's experience proved to us how well-rehearsed we are and how well we respond to our director's cues. All of us were especially impressed by the scholarship winner who played in the dark, and by our three accompanists who played both in the dark and at the opposite side of the room from where the choir had to sing. We'll be talking about this for quite some time.”
By the time the lights went back on, the audience had been won over by the great efforts to keep the show going. They happily joined in and sang along with the last few choruses.
Posted by Margaret Darby