PORT TOWNSEND — Singers in the Rain, a men’s choral group, will be featured in their ninth return engagement at the Candlelight Concert at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the concert at Port Townsend’s oldest Victorian Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, 609 Taylor St., across from the Port Townsend Community Center in Uptown.
Admission is a suggested $10 donation, with children admitted free. Donations benefit local Port Townsend charitable organizations and Trinity’s music and historic Victorian Restoration programs.
Refreshments will be served following the performance.
Singers in the Rain is a men’s singing and learning group that averages about 12 to 14 voices.
It is led by music director and musictheory teacher Hazel Johnson and voice instructor Sydney Keegan.
Each year, Johnson and Keegan choose a theme that emphasizes the development of certain skills. With a good-sized repertoire now in hand, they will present “The Best of Singers in the Rain, Volume I,” in which a number of pieces from the past are revived, along with some new material, including one substantial number from the classical repertoire.
This year it will be a perennial choral favorite, the “Cantique de Jean Racine” by Gabriel Faure, in a four-part arrangement for male voices with violin obbligato performed by Port Townsend newcomer Claire Martin.
The special goal for this year is singing the long musical lines in the Faure. An ongoing goal is that each singer can sing his own part correctly without the others.
Revival favorites will include “We Sail the Ocean Blue” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and two Latin American folk songs.
A special part of this year’s concert is a tribute to tenor Frank Boyle, a charter member, who died over the holiday season from a sudden illness.
Songs planned for Frank will include Pete Seeger’s “To My Old Brown Earth,” “Ashes of Love,” and “Sitting on Top of the World” with an extra stanza especially about Boyle.
Boyle was a member of the ukulele group Ukes of Hazard, which will play for “Ashes of Love.”
Bruce Cowen will accompany “To my Old Brown Earth” on guitar. “Sitting on Top of the World” will be sung by tenor Scott Rosecrans.
The group began as a voice and sight-reading skills class for men only in April 2010, after Johnson and Keegan had concluded a series of similar classes for both men and women who wanted to improve their effectiveness in community singing groups.
After eight weeks together, the men agreed that they wished to continue to grow their skills in a continuing series of classes, and that they wanted to display their accomplishments in a public performance.
They chose the name Singers in the Rain because their first group photograph was taken out of doors in a typical Port Townsend drizzle.
They were invited to give their first performance at Trinity United Methodist Church in Port Townsend the following spring.
With Diane Thompson, long-time accompanist of the Port Townsend Community Chorus at the piano, they have given an annual concert at Trinity ever since, as part of the church’s popular Candlelight Concert series.
For more information about membership in the group, call Johnson at 360-385-6000 or Keegan at 360-379-4735.
For more about the concert, call 360-774-1644 or email [email protected]