Wild Rose Chorale to host winter concert Friday

PORT TOWNSEND — Concertgoers will hear some favorite holiday melodies on the Wild Rose Chorale’s winter program Friday, and the group’s signature twists should get audiences smiling.

“My bass part goes ‘doom doom bah do bah dot,’” said member Doug Rodgers. “Who could guess that’s the intro to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus?’”

Fresh takes on well-loved tunes, sacred and secular charts, lush, slow songs and up-tempo numbers are included in Wild Rose’s concert at 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 1120 Walker St. in Port Townsend.

The a cappella ensemble will present one show only.

Tickets are a suggested $20 at the door.

Masks are encouraged in the venue.

“Some of my favorite songs this season include Kirby Shaw’s Zydeco-inspired arrangement of ‘Here Comes Santa Claus,’ the beautiful ‘Winter’s Heart’ by Mark Hayes and an Audrey Snyder arrangement of ‘There’s Still My Joy,’ as sung by the Indigo Girls,” director Leslie Lewis said.

Alto JES Schumacher said she is particularly partial to songs that are jazzy, such as “Let It Snow.”

“We also have a few poignant and moving songs for the season, and as is becoming our tradition, we have included a tune from the hit a cappella group Pentatonix,” Schumacher said. “I personally love Christmas music so much that I enjoy rehearsing Christmas carols starting right after Labor Day.”

But the songs of her childhood are made new and interesting by contemporary arrangers, she said.

Like Lewis, alto Patricia Nerison is fond of “Winter’s Heart,” “because it reminds us that the cold and dark of winter is a time for reset and renewal, a time when plants set buds on their bare twigs to prepare for new growth in spring,” she said.

The concert program of Christmas songs and a Hanukkah number is upbeat and heartfelt, Nerison added, even if sadness and longing are expressed.

“The songs themselves bring light to the darkest season of the year. They remind us that the heart of any celebration is what we can share and give to each other – friends and strangers alike.”

A cappella singing is sometimes referred to as “singing without a net” since the only instruments are the voices themselves – and maybe the occasional body percussion. There’s no piano nor any other help to rely upon except each other. Listening to how the parts form a whole is as important as learning an individual soprano, alto, tenor or bass line, according to members.

“Reading the part, then learning it, then performing – it’s all great. I also like to record us, then I can listen again later,” said Rodgers.

“It’s a joy to sing in any group that makes a beautiful sound, and to be in the midst of that sound and helping to produce it,” said Wild Rose’s newest member, tenor Kris Lott. “In a small group like ours, it’s wonderful to still be able to hear all the individual voices as we sing and to be able to appreciate all the parts as they combine.”

Wild Rose often sings in downtown Port Townsend during the holiday season, including at the recent community treelighting ceremony. Lott said he hadn’t given much thought to caroling, instead focusing on concert preparation.

“But when we were out there singing, I loved seeing all the smiles on people’s faces. That really made my day.”

Nerison said the group is always challenged to do their best by the leadership of Lewis.

“She brings the whole of her delight and her musical skills to us every single time we are together.”

Lewis, in turn, is appreciative of the dedication of all the members of the ensemble, and how they work hard to create something meaningful.

She noted that Wild Rose has a history of including student interns during its fall season. This year, Maddy Chenruk-Geelan and Devon Helman are singing in the soprano and bass sections, respectively.

“Rehearsing and singing with the members of Wild Rose always lifts my heart,” Nerison said. “No matter how I feel when 7 p.m. Tuesday rolls around for rehearsal, I feel uplifted by the mutual care, respect and camaraderie of the members – not to mention the energy-giving music we make together!”

Bass Al Thompson said, “We’re a close-knit community of singers who love to sing together.”

For more information, visit wildrosechorale.org, call 360-643-3345, or visit the group on Facebook.

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