Saginaw Choral Society Review

Saginaw Choral Society launches its 77th season on a promising note By Sue White | For on October 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM, updated October 28, 2012 at 8:09 AM Enlarge Theophil Syslo | The Saginaw News Glen Thomas Rideout, 26, of Ann Arbor, conductor, is holding a rehearsal at the Temple Theatre for the Saginaw Choral Society Christmas concert on December, 10th. Glen Thomas Rideout Conductor gallery (7 photos) SAGINAW, MI – The Saginaw Choral Society waded into many different waters in its season premiere, “Shades of Blue,” on Oct. 27 at the Temple Theatre. It was a challenge, admitted artistic director Glen Thomas Rideout, in his second season at the helm, and his singers agreed. But the gamble, tackling everything from Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” a number they performed years ago with Brubeck himself, to the lively vocal rhythms of the Cuban folk song “Son de Camaguey” and a different sort of Sanctus from “The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass,” revealed an ensemble poised and ready for a season where anything’s possible. And in the spirit of collaboration, the concert was punctuated with performances by Michael Brush and a host of others, at one point premiering “Blue,” a song the Freeland jazzman composed for the occasion, and original art in the theater’s Leopard Lounge that reflected the same many variations of blue in works like Kathy Brush’s “In and Out of Blue” and Tara Snyder’s “Forbidden Ghost.” Moses Hogan’s arrangement of “Wade in the Water” showed the choral society at its best, soloists Jean Cole, Betty Mayer, Jennifer Pollack and Nancy Stevenson’s altos and sopranos raising a plaintive voice across the tapestry of the choral backdrop. Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” was another where you could appreciate the complex vocal undercurrent in a song that at first listen reflects the simple beauty of Appalachian folk music through soprano Shannon Morse. The choral society, sporting splashes of blue, opened the show with the soaring “The Blue Bird,” soprano Cindy Humphreys’ playful lilt weaving in and out. It was a sharp contrast to the almost skat-like sounds an otherwise quiet Rideout offered soon after, in turn leading the audience through a series of finger-snapping and thigh-slapping rhythms. It was a perfect segue into “Breaths” and its reminder to listen more often to things rather than beings as the voices of the ancestors are carried in the crackle of the fire. And while pianist Carl Angelo and drummer Steve Nyquist added some accompaniment in the concert’s first half, Angelo showcased in “La cathedrale engloutie,” it was in Act Two that the night’s guests truly stepped forward. Brush, with Nyquist and bassist Ryan Fitzgerald, threw a quick curve, calling young violinist Nathan Bieber forward for some truly amazing improvisation in “Blues in the Name.” And David Brown, joining the trio in Brush’s “Blue,” brought its premiere to full life. “David is one who really needs to understand and feel the emotion of the song to give it his all,” Brush said after the concert, and he obviously delivered in his exploration of blue’s many moods. Brown raised a powerful voice, reminiscent of Johnny Mathis, in the showpiece. Brush closed his set with “U,” featuring Julie Mulady, before relinquishing the stage again to the choral society. But it wasn’t long after Stephen Zegree’s engaging arrangement of “Blue Skies” that bluegrass musicians John Upton, Gregg Powell, Eric Gibelyou joined the fun, after Sanctus closing the night on a lively note with the hoedown-worthy “Bile Them Cabbage Down.” If there was on constant through the night, it was the pure joy of the night’s performers. They took on the challenge, and they knew, onstage Oct. 27, that they nailed it. And that’s reason enough to see what comes next in a season of “Living Color.” Sponsored Links

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