Selections from the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) opened the concert after intermission with the chorus Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen, the music admirably executed by the Oriana Singers.
Jill Levis, mezzo soprano and Gary Moreau, bass, stepped forward from the ranks of the Singers: Levis sang the aria Schliesse, mein Herze. And then Moreau sang the aria Herr, o starker Koenig partnered by Duncan. These two veterans command a wide range of abilities that make theme highly sought after as soloists and as teachers. Levis in particular has made private voice lessons as a means of fostering talent; Moreau has been an elementary school music teacher and more recently has taken over the directorship of The Vermont Choral Union. His ability to sing long melismatic passages is legendary. They and Stephanie Maslack, soprano, sang the solo parts in Cantata 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 140) 3rd. Before he began the cantata, Metcalfe invited the audience to rehearse the final chorale, and he invited everyone to sing. Once rehearsal was successfully completed, the cantata began, also successfully.
The final chorus was a decidedly festive choice: Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen (from BWV 248). It was a wonderful send off into the everyday world in which the new moon was beginning to show her subtle control over our lives. An excellent concert indeed!
The Vermont Choral Union
COLCHESTER - Saturday evening I ventured to St. Michael's College in Colchester, to the McCarthy Arts Center. Although I have heard good things about the repertoire ( I was astounded at the repertoire Gary Moreau, a well known soloist in Vermont had presented several years back), I have never been able to make one of their concert dates. So I was present at 7:30 p.m. to hear confirmation with my own ears what he was doing with the Vermont Choral Union.