Jerome L. Wright

Jerome L. Wright

Peninsula Singers perform first concerts with new director

SEQUIM — The Peninsula Singers will perform its first concerts with a new director this weekend.

The Saturday and Sunday concerts will be the first Peninsula Singers concerts that Jerome Wright has directed for the group since he was hired at the beginning of the year.

“A Salute to Broadway” will be a tribute to Broadway musical hits over the decades, with narration and solo performances showcased.

The Peninsula Singers will perform at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim, at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for adults are $15. For seniors and students, they are $12. Children younger than 12 will be admitted free. Proceeds from concerts help the group fund scholarships to Port Angeles and Sequim high school students, said Patricia Guthrie, Peninsula Singers president.

The Peninsula Singers hired Wright after longtime director Dewey Ehling died in August.

Wright said he is excited to lead the group.

“Dewey Ehling was a beloved figure. He was with them for more than 20 years,” Wright said, calling this weekend’s concerts a tribute to the former director.

“I have big shoes to fill, as more than one person around here has pointed out to me.”

Though Wright hasn’t been with the group long, Guthrie said he fits right in with the choir and that the singers appreciate his enthusiasm for the music.

During the hiring process, “the choir overwhelmingly liked Jerry,” she said. “They liked his style and his enthusiasm.”

Wright provides the singers background on the music and works well with the choir, Guthrie said.

She said she appreciates “how he works with each section to get the very best sound he can get.

“He just gives us all kinds of little tics he’s had from the 40 or 50 years of directing choirs.”

Ehling had picked the theme for this concert before he passed, but it was up to Wright to select the music.

“All I had was a big stack of music that had been pulled from the library,” Wright said. “I came up with what I think is a pretty exciting program.”

The concert will feature a decade of Broadway hits, narrated by and featuring Carol Swarbrick, who has an “extensive theater background” and sang in “Side by Side” by Stephen Sondheim when it was on Broadway, Wright said.

The performance will feature songs from “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Les Misérables,” “My Fair Lady” and others.

A number of solos throughout the concert will feature members of the Peninsula Singers, each listed in the concert’s program.

“It’s going to be an interesting and fun show for the audience and singers,” Wright said.

He said the Peninsula Singers are looking for new members and especially want more men to join the group.

“We will be auditioning and I’d be happy to hear from anyone who is a singer in search of a good group,” Wright said.

Those interested can contact Wright via email at [email protected]

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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