By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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She taught elementary school in Michigan, Maine and Guam, sang in choirs in England and Sequim and started the Glee Club at Sequim's Senior Center. She directed a handbell choir, adored playing the organ and, a lover of hymns, composed her own, including one titled “Pray for the Children.”
Stevenson also belonged to the Peninsula Singers, who, led by maestro Dewey Ehling, will remember her with two concerts of sacred music this weekend.
The performances feature 43 singers, including soloists Jeanine Lutzenhiser from Poulsbo, Jaie Livingstone and Joel Yelland, as well as violinist Earl Rice and narrator Carol Swarbrick Dries.
“This concert will be very special,” said Ehling, who will step up to the podium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors.
The music this weekend will range from Mozart and Vaughan Williams to Mendelssohn and Leonard Bernstein — plus “Sing for Joy,” a new, original work.
Stevenson stipulated, before her death last November, that any donations in her memory be given to the Peninsula Singers. Now, those gifts have been turned into this commissioned piece of choral music. Local composer and singer Taylor Ackley has written “Sing for Joy,” using Isaiah 49:13, Stevenson's favorite scripture, as his foundation.
“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people,” the Old Testament verse begins. The piece has a violin part, which Rice, Stevenson's pastor, will play in this weekend's program.
Stevenson battled ovarian cancer for nine years, while her husband, Lawrence, cared for her. He's a violinist, Ehling noted, who chose the text and choral selections in “Sing for Joy.”
“Larry will be at the concert,” added Ehling.
“Through her illness, Larry was always at her side and kept the rest of us informed as to her condition.”
This weekend's program is also a fond reminiscence of some 25 years of Peninsula Singers concerts. Ehling has picked out music from his quarter-century with the choir.
These pieces will include the Mendelssohn cantata “Hear My Prayer,” sung by Livingstone; Yelland's performance of “Reconciliation” from Vaughan Williams' “Dona nobis pacem” (“Grant us peace”); and Lutzenhiser's “Adonai,” from Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. The concerts will then offer three songs from requiems by Faure, Brahms and Mozart, and close with “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
Tickets will be available at the door Saturday and Sunday, while those who want to purchase in advance can do so at Elliott's Antique Emporium, 135 E. First St., Port Angeles, and Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim.