From the Conductor

Do you like family reunions? I do! To spend time with friends who have meant a lot to me in my life and to spend time with new members of the family is what I look forward to every so often. This is what this concert is all about, but on two different levels.

First, this is our 25th anniversary concert. You will see and hear singers from the past quarter century of Opus 24. Take time to greet them and reacquaint yourself with each person. The second level is our music. I have chosen to perform pieces that the choir has performed throughout its history. April Is in My Mistress’ Face was performed on our first concert in 1992 at St. John’s Episcopal Church for a huge crowd of around 150! Our newest member of the musical family is Sing On!, commissioned by the Decatur Choral Society for this season. The composer, Randall Reyman, is professor of trumpet at Millikin University. We are delighted to premier his work on our concert.

We conclude the program with The Dream Isaiah Saw by Glenn Rudolph.

It is a powerful statement of creating the world we need, especially after recent history-making events of terrorism and bravery. It is my sincere hope that you, our faithful audience, will become level three in our family, and that Opus 24 will remain an integral part of your life, as it is mine.

Milt Scott, Conductor

There’s No “I” in Choir

There is no “I” in “choir.” Well, yes, technically there is the letter “i”, but a good choral group avoids having a distinguishable voice. A choir is not a collection of soloists, but rather a blend of quite an assortment of vocal sounds. The goal is a fully blended sound, capable of singing the complete range of human feelings as a team.

Choir directors spend a great deal of time and effort to achieve the perfect blend of voices within a section, and blending the sections into one unified sound. Sometimes singers are placed where their voices will complement a different quality of voice next to them. Singers may be asked as an individual or a group to change their pronunciation of a word to be quite different from how we would normally speak it.

Directors sometimes need to walk a fine line between diplomacy and improving a section’s sound. The longer a group such as Opus 24 performs together, the easier it is to come close to the perfect blend. Our talented and experienced conductor is especially fortunate to have such capable singers (especially the tenor section) who understand and work hard to match their voices for that one sound which a section strives so hard to create.

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society

My Favorite Song

Enough time has passed since Opus 24’s 2015 fall concert, “There Shall a Star,” for me to share what was my favorite concert piece.  I have many friends who have learned to anticipate this question, and many have even written themselves notes about what they heard in the concert.

The pieces most frequently chosen by our audience were What Child, Bleak Midwinter, and Caroling, Caroling.  Practically all of the songs in the program were mentioned.  Most people also qualified their answers with the statement, “It is so hard to choose one.  I liked them all!”  After checking with many of the Opus singers, their favorites leaned toward Bleak Midwinter,  but also included most of the pieces that we sang.

My favorites were Personet Hodie, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and He is Born. In Personet I enjoyed the cheerful tempo, the blended use of Latin and English, and the tenor arrangement.  He is Born seems to be a song that tells us that we have received joyous news, and the chance for our listeners to hum merrily along with the tenors.  Gloria seems to be the one that edges out the others.  Parts of the song frequently invade my thoughts with dynamic entrances, then soaring melodic phrases, declarative statements, and of course, the tenor section, which adds so much to the beauty of the piece.

Be ready to choose your favorite in our 25th Anniversary concert coming up on May 15, 2016. I’ll probably ask you.

Bill Horton
Decatur Choral Society