Pablo Picasso once said that his goal was to paint like a child. Listening to the Salt Lake Children's choir, one can see what he meant.
Beginning with "Lift Thine Eyes" from Mendelssohn's "Elijah," the choir filled Abravanel Hall with their clear, unaffected sound. Mozart's "Laudate Dominum" with soloist Nathan Peery was a high point of the first set.Then, tenor Lawrence Vincent took the stage and the concert's emotional effusiveness grew from there.
Beginning with a placid but powerful "Auf dem Strom" by Schubert, Vincent sang with controlled vibrato, precise intonation and careful control of his vocal inflections. His selections got steadily more passionate and powerful, reaching a high point in the Richard Strauss "Zueignung."
After Vincent's first set, Woodward's "Wednesday group" sang Purcell's "Sound the Trumpet" which showcased their blend and flawless intonation. They also sang a Schubert selection and folk songs from Switzerland (with a surprise yodel from Vincent in the wings), Chile and Ukraine.
When the "Tuesday Group" again took the stage, the air rang with mysterious, ethereal harmonies in Woodward's "Stars" and Grieg's "Cow-call." The expansive harmonies created a sense of wonder, and soloist Megan Mason's piercingly clear voice sent a collective spine-shiver throughout the hall.
Vincent's second set was of German operetta tunes. With tongue-in cheek severity and staring the audience down, he began Em-mer-ich Kalman's "Play Gypsy Play." Here he pulled out all the stops, both vocally and physically, working the audience into an emotional frenzy.
The last set, which included both choirs and Vincent, was a heartwarming close. Woodward acknowledged his conductor father, Vincent, the choir sang "Vienna, City of My Dreams," and Woodward invited all former choir members on stage to sing their signature piece, "A Day in Spring."