The Salt Lake Children's Choir, celebrating its 25th anniversary season, was honored recently by the state of Utah when Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. signed a declaration proclaiming the week of May 7-14 as Salt Lake Children's Choir Week.
"It's nice to have official acknowledgement and recognition of these kids and their efforts," said choir founder and director Ralph B. Woodward, although he added that he doesn't like to think in terms of milestones. "But 25 years gives occasion to step back and consider what's been going on and marvel at the fact that it's gone on for so long."
Founded in October 1979, the choir has affected the lives of thousands of area youngsters and been a positive influence on them.
That hasn't gone unacknowledged by many former choir members. About 90 former members have formed an alumni choir, and they'll join the current members for a few songs at the choir's gala concert on Saturday in Abravanel Hall. "Some of them are coming from other parts of the country to be here," Woodward said. "And despite the passage of time and marriage and children, some of what they experienced must have stuck with them."
Saturday's performance will be the first time the children's choir has sung in Abravanel Hall since the 20th anniversary concert. "It's one of the great halls in the country, and I'm excited to be there again," Woodward said.
He noted that it's also been 22 years since the choir gave its first concert in Abravanel Hall. "That was in 1983, and it turned out to be a pivotal experience for us. It was the start of a series of concerts for us in the hall.
"We were a fledgling group back then, and the choir has definitely improved since that time."
The program Saturday will consist of choir favorites. Following a pattern that Woodward established years ago, the choir will sing early music as well as folk songs from around the world and a number of Woodward's own compositions.The alumni choir will join in for Sibelius' rousing choral piece "Onward, Ye Peoples" and in Woodward's own "A Day in Spring," a song that has become the choir's signature piece. "I'm excited that this is going to be a convergence of the best music we've done over the years."
If you go...
What: Salt Lake Children's Choir, director Ralph B. Woodward
Where: Abravanel Hall
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.How much: $10 general, $7 students