News Column

Schuylkill Choral Society goes country for Saturday's final concert of the season

May 9, 2014

By Eric Peddigree, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

May 09--The Schuylkill Choral Society will bring the music of Nashville north this weekend as it wraps up its 2013-14 season.

The concert, called Schuylkill Goes Country, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Schuylkill Haven Area High School auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available from any choir member or by calling the society office at 570-628-3388.

The concert's theme is based on the Grand Ol' Opry. Mark P. Thomas, choral society music director, said the program will feature songs from every decade from the 1950s to the present. He said he tried to incorporate songs that will appeal to country music fans in all generations.

Songs on the program include "Crazy" by Patsy Cline, "Nine to Five" by Dolly Parton, "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks, "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn, "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack and "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts.

Kim Breiner Stoudt will accompany the group on piano. Stoudt has a background in country music going back to her childhood. Several members of her family formed a country-western band when she was growing up near Auburn and they played locally for many years.

Thomas said this is the first time the choral society will be performing a concert featuring country music.

"We are venturing out into a different style this time," Thomas said.

The inspiration for the theme came from a trip Thomas took to Nashville about a year ago. He said the idea for the concert popped into his mind when he walking down the street and could hear music coming from every restaurant and pub.

"It just hit me standing in the streets of Nashville, we should do a country concert," Thomas said.

When putting the concert together, Thomas said the older songs, by artists such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, were easier for the group because more members recognized those tunes. He said even if the younger members didn't know a song, they were able to recognize it from some memory, such as a television commercial.

Thomas said he likes to think up different themes for the group to perform, especially for the spring concert. Traditionally, the group's last performance of the season is more light-hearted. For example, the group sang popular songs from the 1970s last year.

Thomas said he is fortunate that he has a group that can adapt to any genre of music.

"(That's) one of the things that I'm proud of. We can do classical and then country," he said.

According to its website, the 2013-14 season is the society's 41st year of "choral excellence."


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Source: Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA)

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