The Naugatuck Community Choir under the direction of Mark C. Silva presented their Spring Concert on Sunday, May 20. They returned to because of the great acoustics and the ample room for the 16 piece orchestra to sit in front of the singers. Well, most of the orchestra; the percussion player, the timpani player and Todd Gorski on the organ were relegated to the right. Not a problem because the musicians sounded amazing on everything.
The music selected was a tribute to R. Vaughan Williams, perhaps the most important English composer of the 20th century. His countless choral works are often performed in church services, but Williams was an agnostic. During his sixty year professional career, he wrote nine symphonies, several concertos, a ballet, a few operas and those countless choral works. The executive board of the choir chose several hymns for the first half of the program and the massive "Dona Nobis Pacem" was chosen for the second half. The choir had already performed the fourth movement "Dirge for two veterans" last spring and "Dona Nobis Pacem" at r.
My favorite part of the concert was the five pieces that opened the concert. The rousing "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing" opened the performance and sounded awesome with the full orchestral accompaniment. "O Clap Your Hands" featured the wonderful Mr. Gorski on the organ and a trumpet. "Festival Te Deum" was sung with the organ only and here the men sounded great. The first half ended with "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name;" an excerpt of this piece was also the encore.
After intermission, the choir began the heavy "Dona Nobis Pacem" and sang (for almost 35 minutes) the massive piece with which the choir had a "love/hate" relationship. Williams completed the work in 1936 and the six movements are very different and challenging; the wonderful singers in this choir rose to the challenge. The words, many of them by Walt Whitman, appeared in the program. Soprano Denise Silva was the soloist at various points and baritone Brett Gottheimer did the same. At the end of this piece, the assembled music lovers gave the choir a standing ovation.
At the end of the performance, Mr. Gorski played an organ solo "Rhosymedre" while the basket was passed for donations to cover the cost of sheet music and the orchestra. A reception followed in the former school cafeteria.
The concert was recorded and CD copies will be available in the near future. The microphone stand is visible in the mediocre photos I took of the choir.
The NCC is planning a trip for members to Washington D.C. June 24 through June 28, 2013. The bus trip includes four nights hotel accommodations, breakfast and dinner buffets, and three performances. For more info, call Joy at (203) 888-0545.