The Utah Valley Choral Society celebrated its anniversary Saturday evening with a concert of music for which it has become known during the past 16 years.
The range of this chorus is always surprising. The approximately 50 singers can perform a smooth and precise "Gloria," by Vivaldi, as easily as they can belt out Broadway tunes. Their pianissimos are every bit as powerful as their fortissimos - and there, they sound at least twice their number.The setting of the Provo Tabernacle is surely a factor, but moreso is the director, Lois J. Johnson. For the past eight years, she has molded what was originally known as the Civic Oratorio Society into a flexible and truly musical group with a real penchant for excellence.
The chorus showed its ability on a wide variety of music, such as Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," Lambert's exuberant arrangement of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," and medleys from "My Fair Lady" and "Oklahoma!"
A special treat was "Behold, the Lord Passed By," from Mendelssohn's "Elijah," performed with effective nuances and wonderfully full, rich chords.
The audience throughly enjoyed selections from Wyrtzen's "Liberty," including a medley of well-known American folk songs, a salute to the Armed Forces, and other patriotic pieces. Soprano Debra Dunning's solo on "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier" was lovely.
Also of note was Carol Mahlum's high-hitting soprano solo with the choir backing her on "Ye Now Are Sorrowful," from Brahms' "Requiem." Acknowledgement must also be given the deft and sensitive piano accompaniment by Ann Moyle throughout the program.
The choir sounded well balanced, despite the fact that the men were vastly outnumbered by women's voices. Occasionally, though, one or two of the men forgot they were ensemble singers and not soloists.
The women excelled in the passages where two- and three-part harmony was sung.
Utah Valley can count itself lucky to have Lois Johnson and the Choral Society as a staple in its cultural arts calendar.