Voices for the Performing Arts sponsored "Spirit of Christmas Holiday
Concert" was held on Saturday, December 11th at Sherwood High School.
The audiences were treated to music that focused on traditions and the
gifts that are given and received by all during this time of year.
In addition to a few selections by individuals and a brass ensemble, the show featured three groups.
The Sherwood Chorale, an adult choir made up of local men and women,
sang traditional favorites, "Up on the Housetop," "Winter Wonderland,"
and a medley of other carols. The men also sang a rousing and
unforgettable rendition of "Deck the Halls" and the women presented a
beautiful lullaby called "Lullay Alleluia."
The Sherwood Children's Chorus' selections included "Christmas Time is Here," the theme song to A Charlie Brown Christmas and "Jingle Bell Rock."
Also, making their debut concert performance was Footnotes, an all girls middle-school age choir.
They entertained the audience with music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and other holiday classics.
Back as the Master of Ceremonies, celebrity meteorologist and Sherwood
resident Dave Sweeney also performed this year, singing a touching duet
with music director Cindy Christensen.
VPA and all the performers are grateful for all those who attended this
year's concert. Proceeds from the concerts will provide scholarships
and grants for local students and teachers.
The 2009 Holiday Concert created winter nostalgia for all in attendance. The classic pieces performed by the Sherwood Chorale and the Children's Chorus, along with several specialty numbers, combined for three wonderful concerts that left concert attendees with a sense of peace and reminiscence over the weekend of December 5th and 6th, 2009.
The first half of the show focused on fun, traditional carols from holidays past. A brass ensemble made up of local musicians started the concert with Angels We Have Heard on High, arranged by Canadian Brass. The Sherwood Chorale followed with its rendition of It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, arranged by Alan Bilingsley and later Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, arranged by Andy Beck.
The Children's Chorus continued with a classic kids favorite--The Night Before Christmas, arranged by Mark Weston, and later brought the kid in all of us out by singing Believe, arranged by Mac Huff for The Polar Express .
An octet of future Children's Chorus members entertained the audience with All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.
Two adult ensemble groups also got into the act. A mixed men and women's quintet sang White Christmas, arranged by Audrey Snyder, and an all ladies group dazzled the audience with Nutcracker Jingles, arranged by Chuck Bridwell.
After a brief intermission, the music then centered on the meaning of the holiday season. Once again the brass ensemble opened with another Canadian Brass arranged carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Two specialty numbers followed: The Gift of the Magi narrative by O Henry, abridged by Kim Aanderud and performed by Harvey Brown, and a vocal duet by Jillyn Chang and Bryan Hoerr who sang The Gift, arranged by Jim Brickman. Also, Matthew Flanagan sang Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head, arranged by Richard D. Row and accompanied by Jenny Arave on the piano.
The Sherwood Chorale added to the peaceful evening by singing Holy Night, Silent Night, arranged by Ruth E. Schram and See Dat Babe, a Christmas spiritual arranged by Stacey V. Gibbs. The Children's Chorus and the Chorale harmonized beautifully while singing together O Come to Bethlehem, arranged by Ruth E. Schram.
The concert concluded traditionally by inviting the audience to join the Chorale in singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.
weekend of May 8-9 marked the 5th anniversary of the formation of the
Sherwood Chorale. To help celebrate on Friday, renown concert pianist
Michael Allen Harrison and award winning vocalist Julianne Johnson
shared their incredible talents, thrilling choir members and audience
alike with their soul felt interpretations of songs such as "Someone to
Watch Over Me," "Sweet Love," and "Feeling Good."
surprised the choirs by inviting them to the stage to sing backup for a
gospel rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." With Michael at the
piano and Julianne teaching each part as the song progressed, it was
live music at its best. For the Chorale and Children's choir it was an
experience to remember as it was spontaneous and exuberating. Michael
and Julianne had an energy and dynamic that worked perfectly. It was a
thrill and a pleasure to have them perform for us in our small town.
Saturday evening Michael Allen Harrison introduced us to his stepson
Tanner Johnson, a seventeen-year-old violin virtuoso. He stunned the
audience with his jazz/new age style violin prowess. His skill and
musical maturity was astounding, pulling effects and notes out of his
instrument that totally captured the essence of each piece while
Michael played with equal sensitivity, skill, and musicality. Their
performances completely complemented each other, absolutely stunning
the audience and driving them to their feet begging for more with a
standing ovation. Live performances of this caliber are to be
remembered, even cherished for years to come! No media can duplicate
the energy and thrill of performances like the ones that occurred that
Sherwood Chorale performance was tight, polished, and well prepared.
The selections showed the skill of the performers to sing a variety of
music, from the riveting spiritual “Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet’ to
the concerts name sake “Take Five,” which is a jazz classic in 5/4
time, to “Someone to Watch Over Me”, the joint number with Julianne and
Michael. The choir’s energy and interpretation of the music was well
done and satisfying. The Tualatin Valley Brass joined the choir with an
accompaniment especially licensed and arranged by Cindy Christensen for
Sherwood Children’s choir entertained the audience with their creative
choreography to the “Pink Panther” theme song and “Don’t Worry Be
Happy”. As always the children added freshness to the concert. They
also sweetly sang a piece about “The Moon” and put forth their best
effort to perform and shine in the spotlight. What a wonderful
opportunity for 4th-6th grade children to be part of such an incredible
concert. Proceeds from the concert support the Voices for the
Performing Arts Foundation’s commitment to awarding scholarships and
grants in the Sherwood School district.
Traditional Christmas favorites dominated the VPA's "The Spirit of Christmas" concert this year. Tualatin Valley Brass once again joined the Sherwood Chorale and the Sherwood Children's Chorus for two performances on Saturday, December 6, 2008 at Sherwood High School.
Following the Children's Chorus singing "Christmas in About Three Minutes," a medley of 23 familiar holiday carols and songs, the Chorus favored the audience by singing "Little Drummer Boy." Providing the accompaniment was Dan Johnson on the guitar, Scott Copeland on the trumpet, Ben Haggard on the snare drum, Mike Strehlow on the percussion, Cheryl Thompson-Merrill on the flute, and Collin Christensen on the synthesizer.
Two memorable ensemble performances by a men's and women's group from the Chorale provided some toe-tapping fun for the audience. The women's group sang "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" and the men's group gave a humorous vocal version of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."
At the end of the concert the Chorale, the Children's Chorus, and the Tualatin Valley Brass joined together to sing another Christmas classic "Do you Hear What I Hear?"
And finally, in keeping with "The Spirit of Christmas" traditions, members of the audience were invited to the stage to join the Chorale in singing what is always a powerful testiment to the Christmas season, George Frideric Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."
"On Broadway" was the theme for the 2008 spring VPA concert. Selections from all the favorite Broadway shows, including Porgy and Bess, Gypsy, Les Miserable, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Music Man, 42nd Street, and several otherswere performed by the Sherwood Chorale, Children's Chorus, and several other soloists and smaller ensembles.
Joining the fun this year was Tualatin Valley Brass, a small ensemble of musicians from Tigard, Tualatin, and Sherwood. They set the stage for the lively concert by opening the event with a rousing rendition of "Give My Regards to Broadway" and then joining the Children's Chorus in "Everything's Coming Up Roses." After intermission they resumed the fun by playing "Strike Up the Band" and later concluded the show with the Chorale by performing "Lullaby of Broadway."
Among the several soloists and small ensembles, Cameron Doyel came from Sacramento, California to move us with a stirring performance of "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserable. Doyel has been a regular performer over the years on the Sacramento theater circuit.
March 14, 2008
It was indeed "A Grand Night for Music” as award-winning musician Michael Allen Harrison performed his magic in a benefit concert for the VPA at Sherwood High School. Sherwood High senior students Chris Griffin, Jon Lakey, Ben Dorothy, and Susan Folsom also performed. In addition to solos and duets, Griffin, Lakey, and Dorothy performed as a jazz trio. Folsom played a rendition of "The First Valise" on the harp.
Continuing the tradition, the VPA board decided another Christmas concert was in order for 2007. A goal was set, SELL OUT, and Polly Doyel, and the committee set out to make it happen. Scott Copeland rounded up fabulous musicians for a brass ensemble to accompany the first movement of John Rutter’s Gloria, and it was a thrilling number. Once again a wonderful scene was painted by Kris Kearsley, and accessorized by Dana Hardman and the mood for Christmas was set. The choirs sang beautifully, 12 year old Grace Haggard sang and danced, and no one will forget the flirtatious fun that Polly and Nathan Doyel had with “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Many people behind the scenes, many instrumentalists, and many choir members spent hours at a very busy time of year to present the show, and it was appreciated. Another creative concert was produced, and with wonderful publicity, and a lot of hard work it did SELL OUT!
Knowing that big things don’t happen unless you dream, and ask, director Cindy Christensen took a chance and asked Michael Allen Harrison if he would like to do 2 concerts with the Sherwood Chorale this year! He had been so encouraging and so upbeat the previous year, mentioning that we should make the May concert a tradition, she decided to take a new twist. He agreed to all her requests and it was an incredible journey with Michael. One day he came to Sherwood and did a workshop at the Middle School with the Children’s choir working on several numbers for the concert. After the workshop several band classes came in as audience for a performance/question answer period with Michael culminating in a performance with the children’s choir. After the class ended he headed over to the High School Performing Arts Center and performed and visited with students there.
There were many interesting topics discussed including recording, music writing, and performance issues. The VPA board was then able to spend some time visiting with him over lunch at Hunters Ridge Grill in Sherwood. Michael is such an advocate for education and promoting music, he had many suggestions for us, and was very validating as we discussed our community efforts.
Michael also attended our dress rehearsal, worked out a number with the Chorale, and then performed with the Children’s choir and the Chorale for 2 concerts! Once again he wowed the audience with his versatility and prowess in his solo performance as well. It was truly amazing that he would spend that much time working with us while enjoying the process of creating music together! What a remarkable person!
The concerts were well attended, and once again included a number with SHS concert choir. Two SHS students, Sarah Beers and Carl Moore were awarded $750 scholarships. Many instrumentalists were involved, and many styles of music from spirituals to Broadway were performed. The medley from the musical “Wicked” was especially a crowd pleaser, as was a duet by SHS choir teacher Cecily Kiester and accomplished opera singer Natalie Gunn.
The VPA board of directors decided to try something new, and presented a Christmas Concert in conjunction with the Sherwood Tree Lighting festivities December 2, 2006. A matinee and an evening concert were sandwiched around the festivities downtown. With the creativity of Dana Hardman and Kris Kearsley, an incredible set was created of an old town street facade complete with a candy store and toy shop. The production was somewhat theatrical in nature, with a script, some acting, and costume and set changes through out. Instruments, choreography, ballet dancing, a slideshow, and choir candles added more variety and interest. To top it off, the audience was invited to join the choir in singing the “Hallelujah Chorus”. At the conclusion of the concerts, everyone knew we had just begun and new tradition. It was a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season.
With the formation of the Voices for the Performing Arts Foundation in January of 2006, a new excitement was born for the Sherwood Chorale community concerts. A children’s choir was formed with 27 children from 3 Sherwood Elementary Schools and the middle school. Tom Grant and Michael Allen Harrison agreed to perform in a concert again. The “Come to the Music” featured the children’s choir, and included a number by the SHS choir directed by the new choir teacher Cecily Kiester, and of course the Sherwood Chorale. Two $750 scholarships were awarded to seniors Amanda Olizsewski, and Mark Whitehead at the concert.
Collin Christensen, 5th grader, was so inspired by Tom Grant in 2005, that he learned Tom’s song Happy Feet. He opened the 2nd half of the concert with a flourish, and impressed us-and Tom with his passionate interpretation! Chris Griffin, sophomore, then played an original piano composition with gusto and flair. The two boys opened for Tom and Michael both, and a week later they were invited to participate in a master class held at SHS by Michael and sponsored by local piano teacher Susan Marchant. It was an educational and enjoyable week for 2 young piano students.
Michael Allen Harrison and Tom Grant were wonderful performers with such wit, style and appeal. The audiences loved the music and the showmanship, and found the evening very worthwhile.
The second Sherwood Chorale Concert in May 2005 featured a 32 voice choir singing 7 songs, and included the accomplished pianists Tom Grant and Michael Allen Harrison on the different nights. This concert inaugurated the new grand piano that was granted to the high school and community by the SNOWMAN FOUNDATION. Thanks to Robyn Folsom and the Sherwood Cultural Arts commission for facilitating that grant. The school district had purchased new risers by this concert, and the Sherwood Education Foundation had granted new robes to the SHS concert choir, which they wore the following week in their Spring Concert. The School District continued to encourage the choral department by announcing that the following school year they would be hiring a choral teacher for the High School, and the band teacher could teach a full day of just music--including a new freshman band and a new guitar class. Things really started to turn around for the music department at SHS, and the Sherwood Chorale concert donation was a significant $4071!
The first Sherwood Chorale Concert in May 2004 featured a 32 voice choir singing 12 songs, and featuring then local vo
calist Lisa Foerster. The concert raised awareness in the community as to some of the needs at the High School. Some of those need included new risers, new piano, more money for music, and choir robes for the students. At that first concert, risers were
borrowed from another school, and our accompanist brought her piano bench from home so she could sit on something other than a chair or bar stool! With a bit of piecing together, we pulled off a very nice concert, and in the end donated $1400 to the high school. That money helped significantly in buying music the following year, as Greg Angeloni the band director continued to teach choir also, and health!