News from the Tennessee Valley Diversions

Guest director Ken Turvey leads members of the Decatur Civic Chorus a St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Guest director Ken Turvey leads members of the Decatur Civic Chorus a St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.

Decatur chorus to give ‘A Night of Great Music’

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

Get ready for “A Night of Great Music” on Thursday.

The Decatur Civic Chorus will present music to suit all tastes at its fall concert, which begins at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 3310 Danville Road S.W.

The program will include Robert Frost poems set to music, spirituals, religious music, holiday carols that are not well known and even a touch of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Guest director will be Ken Turvey of Huntsville. He will accompany the chorus on the organ for some numbers, while Michelle West will be the pianist for this concert.

“We consider this the opening of the holiday season, so we try to do a bit of Thanksgiving music and will end it with a little of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ ” said Sue VanLandingham, executive director of the Civic Chorus.

“We try to perform the whole ‘Messiah’ about every other year, but we would all be disappointed if we didn’t get to sing some of it every year,” she said.

Turvey, who was director of the Huntsville Community Chorus until he retired in 1998, helped the Decatur group gets its start in 1977. He was organist and choirmaster at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville for 50 years.

“I’ve come over to Decatur several times to direct the fall concert the week before Thanksgiving,” he said.

The first part of the program, he said, will include “Frostiana,” with words by Robert Frost and music by Randall Thompson. The familiar poem “The Road Not Taken” will be performed, along with “Choose Something Like a Star.”

Then the chorus, with about 35 voices, will sing several traditional spirituals by Moses Hogan: “Old Time Religion,” with soloists Martha Kaminsky and Paulette DeVine, “Stand By Me” and “Do Lord, Remember Me.”

A section with canticles of religious music will include songs such as “Treasures in Heaven” by Joseph W. Clokey and a Louis Vierne “Kyrie” that Turvey said “has a distinctive organ accompaniment.”

After intermission, the chorus will sing the Christmas portion of the program: “A Day for Dancing” by Lloyd Pfautsch.

“This is a series of nine unfamiliar carols,” said Turvey, who plans to have flute, oboe, bassoon and percussion, along with the chorus.

These pieces have titles such as “The Dance of Prophecy,” “The Dance of Gifts” (with soloists Paulette DeVine and Ann Gebhart) and “The Eternal Dance (with soloist Linda Davidson).

The “Hallelujah Chorus” will end the concert.

“We have quite a variety of music for this concert,” said Turvey. “Some pieces are very rhythmical, while others are very flowing and linear in their construction.”

Tickets are $12 at the door; call 350-6887.

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