.by Anura Guruge
On a cold snowy night, as if to amply reward the brave folks who ventured out, expectations of another grand Clearlakes concert outweighing concerns of a brewing storm, the Chorale well and truly hit it out of the park.
It was magnificent. It all came together, synergistically: the voices of the Chorale, the soaring notes of the soloist, the melodious picking of the harp, a talent orchestra and the ever amazing, ours truly Nancy Farris weaving reverberating magic out of the church organ. This was a good concert. It sure was worth braving the snow. The music, which ended in a brilliantly rousing rendition of ‘Come All Ye Faithful‘, the last verse sung with verve in Latin, warmed your whole being. You left this concert all set for Christmas — knowing that you enjoyed at least one memorable 2013 Christmas event.
Now I have to admit that I am slightly more than biased — but bias or no bias one really couldn’t doubt or debate the excellence of this concert. It just clicked.
Yes, of course, Devanee now sings for Clearlakes and I have been taking her to practices, every Thursday, for 15 months — thus getting to know nearly all those in the Chorale. But, I was a huge fan of Clearlakes before Devanee started with them. I got Devanee into Clearlakes because I was so impressed with them.
That I take her to practices and rehearsals mean that I get to listen to the program months ahead of time. I sat through an entire dress rehearsal on Friday night and spent 30 minutes listening to another rehearsal 7 hours prior to the concert. So, I have heard this concert in many forms — without the orchestra, without the organ, without the harp. It was all of this coming together, flawlessly, that just made this special.
Clearlakes always amazes me. They are ‘big match’ players. They nail their concerts — and that is all that they are expected to do.
There was one amazing soloist this year. Pretty famous one at that from what I can see, baritone, Donald Wilkinson. I heard him Friday night. I read his bio. On Saturday morning I asked him to autograph a program! Now I haven’t asked for that in a decade.
They have another performance at St. Katharine Drexel, in Alton, on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2 P.M. The storm will be long gone by then. Tickets and seats are available. You should definitely try and go. You will be in for a treat.