THE CENTER – Heavenly echoes of “Hallelujah” and graceful notes of “Meditation” filled the air at Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church in El Centro as the Imperial Valley Master Chorale (IVMC) and Imperial Valley String Quartet performed “A Sunday Afternoon of Beautiful Music”. May 15, at El Centro.
The concert marked the end of IVMC’s 2021-2022 school year through Imperial Valley College, said Choral Society President Julie Gaddis.
For the concert, IVMC director Denny Lang led the choir and string quartet through a selection of music by choral composer John Rutter, pieces by Randall Thompson, familiar folk hymns and spiritual songs, selections from the musical Andrew Lloyd Weber Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and a selection of patriotic songs.
The Imperial Valley String Quartet (IVSQ), led by director Joel Jacklich, in addition to supporting the IV Master Chorale in their pieces, performed Symphony No. 9 in E minor (New World Symphony) by Antonin Dvorak, while that the pianist Patty Saracco Lang accompanied Luke Hamby, member of the municipal council of Brawley and violinist of the IVSQ, in the Meditation of Jules Massenet, taken from the opera Thais.
“It’s a nice collection of music that’s ‘comfort music’, maybe music that (the community) knows a little about, but they like to hear it semi-professionally,” Gaddis said. “It’s just a real joy to be able to participate in this.”
“We love playing with the IV Master Chorale; we’ve been doing it since the choir’s inception,” Jacklich said. “That’s just one of our strengths.”
The concert was a mix of new and old tunes, Jacklich said, with some returning choral standards such as traditional spiritual Deep River, Simple Gifts, This Land is Your Land, and the closer concert, God Bless America.
“We love playing here because we love the sound of church. It has great acoustics,” added Jacklich. “I’m just always interested to see what (Denny Lang) throws out (to the community).”
“What’s wonderful is the people here…we’re practically full,” Gaddis said as rows and rows of pews were filled with music enthusiasts.
“(We just want to) do more to get the community to appreciate classical and other music that they don’t hear on a daily basis,” Gaddis said. “We don’t charge for kids to come because we want to encourage new listeners and new people to come and start enjoying the music.”
The choir’s encouragement was evident as director Denny Lang was so involved in the conversation with audience members that he was unavailable for immediate comment for The Desert Review.
“It was a big undertaking to get out of COVID and get the wheels moving again,” Gaddis said.
“Looking out you see people smiling as they recognize the song, hearing the strings and the accompanists playing,” she said. “It’s really special.”
Registration for IV Master Chorale as a credit/non-credit course will be available through imperial.edu this summer for fall 2022. IV Master Chorale will resume meeting in September and October 2022 for their upcoming fall and summer concerts. ‘winter.
Students or members of the community interested in joining the Imperial Valley Master Chorale for the 2022-2023 Imperial Valley College school year can contact IVMC Principal Denny Lang by email at denny_dennis@ yahoo.com.