The Utah Valley Choral Society previewed its new season with a "Samplings" concert Wednesday night, proving itself perfectly capable of the wide variety of music it is undertaking this year.
Under the baton of Lois J. Johnson, the group (apparently missing several members listed on the program) moved through a remarkable range of music in the hourlong concert. Most notable was the clear enunciation; even the words of unfamiliar songs could be easily understood.
And the voices are nothing to scoff at. The sopranos were particularly strong - almost overpowering on occasion. The dozen men, though vastly outnumbered, held their own most of the time, really shining in the medley from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"
The program opened with the first movement from Vivaldi's "Gloria," followed by Brahms' "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place," both presented with proper dignity. The closing number, the finale from "Gondoliers," was full of the robust harmony and grandiose flair of Gilbert and Sullivan's music.
In between, the singers gave a preview of the Choral Society's annual "Messiah" sing-in - with the audience fumbling through the "Hallelujah" chorus sans musical scores - and a wonderful arrangement of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" that gave accompanist Ann Moyle a real workout.
The choir's "Sanctus" from John Rutter's "Requiem" was a bit ragged in the beginning but ended with full, rich chords, and the "Gloria" was exuberant. "The Paper Reeds by the Brook" highlighted the March concert, which will feature music by composer Randall Thompson.
The Utah Valley Choral Society will celebrate its 16th year with an anniversary concert Oct. 29 with music by Vivaldi, Brahms, Copland, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. This versatile, well-disciplined singing group deserves to be heard.