RiverChor Spring Concert Set for April 28

RiverChor is in rehearsal for their spring concert, which will take place on Sunday, April 28 at 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton. The program is as follows:

Exultate justi in Domino – Viadana
Domine ad adjuvandum me festina – Martini
Die Nachtigall – Mendelssohn
Ubi Caritas et Amor – Duruflé
I Will Arise and Go To Jesus – arr. Parker 
Wondrous Love – arr. Parker
On The Common Ground – arr. Parker

In The Valley – Podd
Heaven Somewhere – arr. Hatfield
Song for the Mira – MacGillvray
Choral Variations on “Ah, Holy Jesus” – Petrich
Choose Something Like A Star – Thompson
Bridge Over Troubled Water – arr. Kirby Shaw

Experience Handel’s “Messiah” Sunday, Dec 17th

RiverChor and Gateway Area Singers present Clinton’s annual performance of “Messiah” on Sunday, December 17 at 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 3rd Ave S in Clinton. Celebrating 92 years of tradition, the group will be performing much of Handel’s famous oratorio with orchestra and many local soloists. Admission is free, offerings are welcome and appreciated.

Rev. Frederick Schoenbohn with a group of singers called the Apollo Choral Society first began the annual tradition in 1931. Over the years, community singers have been directed by Jim Winn, John DeHaan, Dorothy Rathje, Mark Kapusinski, and Rob Engelson. In his third year at the baton is Karl Wolf, recently retired choir director of Clinton High School.  Christine Holmer serves as pianist, and Julie Marston heads up the orchestra.

At the tender age of 11, George Frideric Handel’s prodigious organ playing skills caught the ear of a nobleman, which changed the trajectory of his life from becoming a law student to being lauded by the likes of Mozart and Beethoven as the “greatest composer who ever lived”.  Handel began his career with operas, but turning his hand to religious oratorios allowed him greater musical freedom.  

“Messiah” was written over an astounding period of only three to four weeks, and debuted to a record crowd of 700 people in 1742.  The work is in three parts: the first detailing the prophesied birth of Jesus Christ; the second exalts His sacrifice for humankind; and the final section heralds His resurrection. Throughout his music, Handel focuses on the human response to the divine, perhaps why this work has continued to be so popular as it is performed by groups across the world for Christmas and Easter.

“Our singers from across the Gateway Area have been hard at work since October to brush up on movements that are familiar, and those we only perform in this year 3 of our cycle”, explains RiverChor manager Brooke Logan.  “We invite you to step away from the busyness of the season to enjoy this truly special experience this Sunday afternoon.”

RiverChor presents “Heaven, Somewhere” on November 12

RiverChor Community Choir is pleased to present their fall concert on Sunday, November 12 at 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 3rd Ave S in Clinton.  The group, made up of approximately 40 singers from the Gateway Area, is under the direction of Karl Wolf, with Christine Holmer as accompanist.  Admission to the concert is free, offerings are welcome and appreciated.  

Entitled “Heaven, Somewhere”, the concert will explore several genres of songs relating to the theme. The anthem “At The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners” by Williametta Spencer is a setting of a poem by the famous English poet John Donne and features both strident sounds reminiscent of trumpets, and gentle flowing text. Spencer is an American composer, musicologist, and teacher. She received the Southern California Vocal Association National Composition Award for this composition.

“If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments” is an elegant setting of John 14:15-17a by one of the most significant English composers of the High Renaissance, Thomas Tallis.  The motet “Ave Verum Corpus” was written for the Feast of Corpus Christi by W. A. Mozart in 1791 for his friend Anton Stoll who was the church musician of St. Stephan in Baden bei Wien. Johannes Brahms competes this historical trio with his setting of “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” (Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen). One of the most well known and beautiful works of Brahms, this setting of a portion of Psalm 84 is from the fourth movement of his famous German Requiem.

A favorite of the choir, “Give Me Jesus”, arranged by Larry L. Fleming for his series “Three About Jesus”, showcases all the sections of the choir, coming together in rich chords with a soaring climax.  Josephine Poelinitz’s arrangement of “A City Called Heaven” challenges the choir with the role of accompanist to a gospel solo. 

You’ll be tapping your toes to two selections arranged by William Dawson, one of the most significant arrangers of African-American Spirituals. He began his teaching career in the Kansas City public school system, followed by a tenure with the Tuskegee Institute from 1931–1956. While there he developed the Tuskegee Institute Choir into an internationally renowned ensemble.  “Soon Ah Will Be Done” pairs a steady droning beat with punctuated dynamics, while “Ain’a That Good News” is a straight out cheerful proclamation.  Houston Bright’s “I Hear A Voice A-Prayin’” rounds out this set, listen as each new theme is introduced and then returns in a musical palindrome.

Rounding out the concert will be solos and ensembles put together by members of the choir.  RiverChor manager Brooke Logan remarks, “While we enjoy singing as a group, it’s a special treat to hear our friends perform music they are passionate about.  I’m excited to hear what they’ve worked up to share with us.”

Community members are encouraged to join in singing when rehearsals for Clinton’s annual Messiah resume on Monday, November 13, 7-9 pm at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton.  The Messiah performance will take place on December 17.

Clinton Messiah Rehearsals to Begin October 23

One of Clinton’s longest-running Christmas traditions is here again – rehearsals are starting for Clinton’s annual performance of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio “Messiah.”

Community members are invited to join with RiverChor to make up the choir which will be accompanied this year by an orchestra.  Director Karl Wolf notes, “The last full performance of “Messiah” in Clinton was 2018, so we’d like to get an early start and blow the cobwebs off the movements we only perform in year three of the cycle.”

Rehearsals begin October 23 in the Great Hall of First Presbyterian Church, 400 Fifth Ave. South, the entrance is from the parking lot in the back of the church. Scores will be available to borrow for those who need them; singers who have their own scores are invited to use them. The rehearsals on October 23 and 30 will be from 7pm to 8pm.  No rehearsal will be held November 6 as RiverChor prepares for their fall concert.  Messiah rehearsals will resume November 13, from 7-9pm, and continue each subsequent Monday until the free concert scheduled for Sunday, December 17, at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton.

Since the first performance in 1931, there have been only three years when an annual ‘Messiah’ performance didn’t take place. Beginning in the early ‘90s a three-year cycle was established where the first year is a sing-along held at a Clinton church; the second year is Part I and selections from Part II with piano, this year is the third year of our cycle, which means we perform virtually the whole work with orchestra. It’s an incredible tradition that has featured thousands of singers giving of their time and talent to present this wonderful gift to the Clinton community.

RiverChor Announces 2023-2024 Season

RiverChor Community Choir is excited to start another season. With a theme of “Heaven, Somewhere”, the group will be working on the following pieces for their fall concert, which will be on Sunday, November 12.

At The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners – Williametta Spencer
If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments – Thomas Tallis
Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen – Johannes Brahms
Ave Verum Corpus – W. A. Mozart
Give Me Jesus – arr. Larry L. Fleming
A City Called Heaven – arr. Josephine Poelinitz
Soon Ah Will Be Done – arr. William Dawson
Ain’a That Good News – arr. William Dawson
I Hear A Voice A-Prayin’ – Houston Bright

The community is then invited to join us for the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, this will be year 3 of our cycle, which means much of the work with orchestra. That concert will take place Sunday, December 17 at 2pm. RiverChor’s Spring concert will take place on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

The choir draws from the Gateway Area of Iowa and Illinois, including Clinton, DeWitt, Low Moor, Fulton, and Morrison. The group meets for rehearsals form 7-9pm on Monday evenings in Clinton, and will start September 11. If you are interested in joining the choir, please drop us a line via our contact form.

RiverChor presents “The Road Home

CLINTON – RiverChor presents its annual spring concert at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 30 at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 Third Ave. South. The concert is free and the public is cordially invited; collection plates will be available for donations.

The concert, entitled “The Road Home”, takes us on a number of journeys, emotional and physical.  The first two pieces explore the loss of a loved one. “David’s Lamentation,” penned by William Billings, is first presented in the tradition of Appalachian Shaped Note singing using solfege before adding the words of the piece.  Samuel Barber’s “Anthony O Daly” evokes relentless grief with its tonality, word pictures, and a continual drone of ‘Anthony’ that grows into a wail of despair.

“Regina Coeli” by W. A. Mozart is a joyous riot of runs and refrains of Alleluia borrowed from Handel’s “Messiah”.  Double quartet Shauna Tegeler, Beth Yaklich, Karil Carr, Chris Meier,
AJ Weber, Terry Winter, Jim Schitzmeyer, and Brandon Winter take the solo sections that occur throughout the piece. Pianist Chris Holmer is assisted by violinists Kristen Jones and David Rosales.

In “The Lamentations of Jeremiah” by Z. Randall Stroope, the choir explores the wide range of emotions of the prophet as he mourned, wept, and cried out loudly in sorrowful anguish at the devastation of Jerusalem and greater loss of human life.

“How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Taylor Davis rounds out the first half of the concert and looks to the hope we have through life’s tribulations.  David Rosales on violin and Kristen Jones on clarinet lend their talents to this piece.

The choir returns after intermission to the organ loft, where they will present Egil Hovland’s tone poem, “Saul”, that brings to life the events of Acts 8 and 9.  Christine Holmer will showcase Zion’s newly refurbished organ, as John Montieth narrates. “Geistliches Lied” by Johannes Brahms will also feature the organ; the gorgeous melodies exhort us to be calm, content and hopeful in faith through life’s trials.

Descending from the loft, RiverChor’s Tenor and Bass sections will bring a smile to your face with “Pirate Song” by Tim Y. Jones.  Brandon Winter heads up the scurvy crew.  

The RiverChor Soprano and Alto sections follow up with  “Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie”, an arrangement by Robert Jones of a song attributed to Huddie Ledbetter.  Sara Dunne and Kristen Jones voice the call and response, while Greg Marston sets the groove on upright bass. 

The singers come together again for  “Bile Them Cabbage Down”,  a traditional folk tune arranged by Mack Wilburg.  Don’t try to make sense of the verses, just clap along with the joyous homecoming of the chorus.  Kristen Jones on fiddle sets the down-home tone, and tenor Justin Tegeler will take the helm on a couple verses.

“The Road Home”, our title piece by Stephen Paulus, invokes the wistfulness of a prodigal traveler.  Connie Swanson-DeSpain and Kristen Jones soar on the descant as we ponder the closing line of our concert, ‘There is no such beauty as where you belong, rise up, follow me, I will lead you home’.

RiverChor was established in February 2004 and draws its singers from many communities in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The group is under the direction of Karl Wolf, while Christine Holmer serves as pianist.  Concerts are presented every spring and fall. RiverChor has been the core group for the annual Messiah concerts and has been featured in concerts with the Clinton and Muscatine Symphony Orchestras.

New Music for a New Year

RiverChor will be resuming rehearsals on January 16th (want to join us? Drop us an email and we’ll have music for you!) The spring concert will be on Sunday, April 30, 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton. Selections to be rehearsed are as follows:

David’s Lamentation – William Billings
Anthony O’Daly – Samuel Barber
Regina Coeli (KV 276) – W. A. Mozart
The Road Home – Stephen Paulus
Lamentations of Jeremiah – Z. Randall Stroope
How Can I Keep From Singing – arr. Taylor Davis
Saul – Egil Hovland
Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren – Johannes Brahms
Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie by Lead Belly-arr. Robert Jones
Pirate Song – Tim Y. Jones
Auction Cries – John Biggs
Bile Them Cabbage Down – arr. Mack Wilberg

Messiah Celebrates 91 Years of Tradition

RiverChor and Gateway Area Singers presents Clinton’s annual performance of “Messiah” on Sunday, December 18 at 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 3rd Ave S in Clinton.  The group celebrates 91 years of performing Handel’s work with all of the Christmas portion, followed by several more selections concluding in a resounding “Hallelujah”!

The tradition was begun in 1931 by Rev. Frederick Schoenbohn with a group of singers called the Apollo Choral Society. Over the years, community singers have been directed by Jim Winn, John DeHaan, Dorothy Rathje, Mark Kapusinski, and Rob Engelson. This year, the baton passes to Karl Wolf, recently retired choral director of Clinton High School.  The pianist is Christine Holmer, organist at Zion Lutheran and former director of music at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

“We are excited to present “Messiah” in concert again. While we have maintained the annual tradition with Sing-Alongs, this will be the first formal “Messiah” concert presented in Clinton since 2018,” said Brooke Logan, RiverChor manager and organizer of the event.  “We have singers who are marking 50 years of participation, and some who are looking at this work for the very first time.  We invite you to take a break from your hectic holiday schedule to enjoy their efforts and the retelling of the Christmas story through song.”

Admission is free, offerings are welcome and appreciated.

If you’d like to help us spread the word, here is a link to the Facebook Event for you to share and invite others: https://fb.me/e/3IOUQtmij

And we also have this printable poster….simply click the little printer icon in the top right corner of the preview box below.

Messiah Rehearsal Commence

Rehearsals for Clinton’s annual Messiah presentation will be on Monday nights, beginning November 14, at 7:00 pm, and are open to all who would like to sing. Join us in the Great Hall of First Presbyterian Church, 400 5th Ave S, Clinton. Park in the back parking lot, with overflow parking in the alley across the street behind Gateway Travel. Enter the office or elevator door and make your way to the second floor.

We will have scores to borrow. If you wish to purchase your own, Tegeler Music will have some for sale at rehearsal for $10, we use the orange Watkins-Shaw edition. If you own the G. Schirmer score, you’ll need to write in a few minor changes.

The Messiah Concert will be on Sunday, December 18 at 2pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 3rd Ave S, Clinton. This is year 2 in the rotation, performing Part 1 plus selections from Parts 2 & 3 with piano accompaniment. Karl Wolf is directing, and Christine Holmer is our pianist.

Thanks for being a part of this 90 year tradition in our community!