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.