Category Archives: Performances

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.

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.

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:

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

Join us Sunday for “A Choral Cornucopia”, then on Monday for “Messiah” rehearsals!

RiverChor, the Gateway Area’s community choir, presents their fall concert at 2:00pm on Sunday, November 13, at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton, IA. The concert is free, donations are appreciated.

Entitled “A Choral Cornucopia”, the concert explores a wide range of choral standards from William Billings (the first American choral composer), to Mozart, Distler, Dello Joio, and Copeland. The choir will also present some fun pieces by Irving Fine, Merle Travis, and Fats Waller.

The 40 member choir is directed by Karl Wolf, the pianist is Christine Holmer. RiverChor will also be joined by the talents of violinists Julie Marston and Kristen Jones. Maureen Pollpeter will partner with Holmer on two 4-in-Hand piano pieces.

On Monday, November 14, RiverChor invites community singers to join them in rehearsals for the 91st annual “Messiah” performance. Practice will be at 7pm each Monday in the Great Hall of 1st Presbyterian Church in Clinton. The free concert will take place at 2:00 pm on Sunday, December 18 at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton.

The Language of Love – RiverChor’s Spring 2022 Concert

Please mark your calendar now for RiverChor’s spring concert! Entitled “The Language of Love” the choir has prepared music in 5 languages.


A Collection of Madrigals – various – English

Liebeslieder Walzer – Johannes Brahms – German

Dirait On – Morten Lauridsen – French

Five Hebrew Love Songs – Eric Whitacre – Hebrew

Eres Tu – Juan Calderon Lopez (arr. Robert Delgado) – Spanish

It’s a Grand Night for Singing – Rodgers and Hammerstein – English

The concert is free, donations are welcome as they fund music for the next concert. We’ll see you at Zion Lutheran on April 24th at 2:00 pm!

RiverChor Fall Concert – With Hope We Shall Rise

RiverChor will present their fall concert on Sunday, November 21, at 3:00pm. The concert will explore songs of crisis, including “Think on Me” and Haydn’s “Agnus Dei”; and songs of hope such as “Saints Bound for Heaven”, “I Shall Not Live in Vain”, and “Hope is Like a Feather”.

The concert is free, donations are appreciated.

Program to include:

Saints Bound for Heaven …… arr. Parker/Shaw

Mass in Time of War – Agnus Dei …… Joseph Haydn

O Vos Omnes ….. Tomas Luis de Victoria

Sing, My Child ….. Sarah Quartel

Think On Me …… James Mulholland

I Shall Not Live In Vain ….. Ruth Morris Gray

Time……. Benjamin Britten

Concord ……. Benjamin Britten

Al Shlosha D’varim …. Alan E. Naplan

I Will Be A Child of Peace …. Elaine Haggenburg

Find the Cost of Freedom (Men) ….. Stephen Stills

Hope is the Thing with Feathers (Women) …. Susan LaBarr

Covid protocols: The choir has been rehearsing in masks, and will wear them for the concert. We will have full lyrics available. Zion Lutheran recommends masks as per CDC for the audience, however they are not required. Seating is general admission, you are welcome to sit as close or far from others as you are comfortable.

RiverChor 2020

2020 has really been a challenge all around to the performing arts, and RiverChor is no exception…..we will be “virtual” this fall. If you have sung with us before and are not on the current email list, drop us a line, we’d love to have you join us for social Zooms and/or a virtual performance.

Messiah is tentative at the moment, we’ll post information here when we know more.

Stay safe and well, and we hope to be singing for you again in 2021!