There were some highlights and some definite low points in Friday's performance of Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah" as presented by the Ogden Community Choir.
The choir, directed by Evelyn M. Harris, is a rather good choral group that has a solid, well-balanced sound. They project well, too.The choir really didn't have a chance to show its full potential, however. Mendelssohn's music to `Elijah," written in 1846 for the Birmingham Music Festival in Eng-land, is rather subdued and somber - fitting, when one considers the Old Testament source for the text. There is none of the light, fleeting melodies that are synonymous with Mendelssohn's name.
There are some lovely numbers in this work, though, mainly in the second part, such as "It is enough," "O rest in the Lord" and the beautiful choral piece for women's voices, "Lift thine eyes."
If the chorus was consistently good, then the soloists were a mixed lot. Of the seven solo singers, not many were of soloist quality, unfortunately. On the negative side, alto Yolanda Hollis was rather iffy in her solo appearances, although she performed the afore-mentioned aria "O rest in the Lord" admirably.
Tenor Curtis Hollis had the weakest voice among the soloists and should have stayed within the anonymous confines of the chorus.
On the plus side were the two sopranos, Lori Hayward and Angela Smith, and bass-baritone Bill Weaver, who sung the role of Elijah.
Weaver, especially, was in fine form. He sounded fine singing alone and with the chorus. Special mention must be made of his numbers "Lord God of Abraham," "Is not His word like a fire" and "It is enough." He sang these with feeling, and although his is a high bass voice, it's also mellow and vocally convincing as the prophet Elijah.
A delight to the ear was boy soprano John McKenna, who only has one small part toward the end of the first section. He has a very pure high voice, and after a rather uncertain start, sung charmingly.
Organist Karen J. Miller did an excellent job accompanying both the chorus and the soloists on the magnificent instrument in Assembly Hall.
Harris' tempos were a bit on the conservative side. She showed a tendency to do everything slowly. This made the music drag in several places and overly accentuated the somberness of the work. Still, the choir acquitted themselves wonderfully, especially in the choral numbers ending each part: "Thanks be to God" and "And then shall your light break forth."