Category Archives: First Presbyterian Church

Spring Concert 2017

Choir on stage in church. Sunset through stained glass window.

Sunset during the Spring Concert 2013.

The choir’s 2017 spring concerts will be May 12 and 13 at 7:30 PM in Salt Lake City’s beautiful First Presbyterian Church (South Temple and ‘C’ Street).  The program will feature some of the world’s greatest classical songs–including the transcendent “God Is My Shepherd ” and “Nacht und Träume” by Franz Schubert, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s dramatic “Spring Waters,” and the evocative “Ku-loc” (Cow-keeper call) by Norwegian master, Edvard Grieg.  The choir will also conduct its traditional survey of outstanding world music with visits to Scotland, Ireland, France, Slovakia, Norway, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil–including a revival of  the choir’s own exciting setting of the Irish reel, “Follow Me Down to Carlow” and Stephen Hatfield’s international hit arrangement of the Mexican huapango, “Las Amariillas.”  Returning to American shores, the choir will sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and will conclude the concert with its own calypso number, “Down by the Seashore,” followed  by “Little Lamb” and “A Day in Spring.”–both by the director.

General Admission: $10.00 ($6.00 students) and admission limited to those age 6 and older. Tickets at Day Murray Music or at the door.  Additional information at 801-537-1412

Program Notes – Spring 2016, part 1

With our major Spring performances coming up at the end of the week, we are pleased to share with you some program notes written by the choir’s founder and director, Ralph B. Woodward.  Hopefully this will give you additional insight and appreciation for the pieces you will hear the choir perform.  We will have notes on additional program pieces throughout the week.

Now Is the Month of Maying” (Thomas Morley)

The 16th Century (the time of Shakespeare) was the golden age of the English Madrigal (secular polyphonic song), and “Now Is the Month of Maying” is among the most famous.  I was contacted not long ago by an English choir director, who had seen us perform it on YouTube asking about the arrangement we use (which happens to be by Jerry Wesley Harris).  So, if she, being from England likes it, I guess we’re on solid footing.  The kids really enjoy singing it.

Song of the Skylark” (Johannes Brahms)

One of the great genres of vocal music is the German Art Song, and I have surveyed virtually all the songs of Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Mendelssohn in search of material suitable for our choir.  Some which we sing were already familiar to me, but some were not, and may not be to our audiences.  One of these, “Song of the Skylark,” (Lerchengesang), is particularly beautiful in its wistfulness.  The 3 against 4 beat rhythm (choir vs. piano) ads to the song’s poignancy.

Impromptu #2 in E-flat Opus 90  (Franz Schubert)

We are proud to feature brilliant young pianist and choir member, Caleb Spjute performing this extremely virtuosic work.  You may want his autograph after you hear him play (others have).

Blagoslavi dushe moya Ghospoda” (Pavel Chesnokov)

This work (translation: Bless the Lord, my soul), with its rich harmonies and extreme dynamic changes is a fine example of late 19th and early 20th Century Russian liturgical music.

How Excellent Thy Name”  (Howard Hanson)

I first heard this piece sung by a college choir and have liked it ever since.  It’s composer, Howard Hanson was the first director of the Eastman School of Music (where he remained for 40 years) and was one of the pre-eminent American composers of the 20th Century.  The work, whose text is taken from the Psalms, is very evocative and beautiful and I appreciate the remarkable insight our singers bring to it.

Springtime in the Rockies

As the springtime blooms around us,  join the Salt Lake Children’s Choir and director, Ralph B. Woodward, for a beautiful evening of songs from around the world at First Presbyterian Church (South Temple and C Street) on May 13th or 14th, Friday/Saturday at 7:30 P.M.Spring2016 Poster_half size

The program will include art songs of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Franz Schubert–followed by a Schubert Intermezzo for piano performed by brilliant young pianist and choir member, Caleb Spjute.  Also heard will be Zoltan Koday’s fiery setting of the Hungarian “Dancing Song,” and the choir’s a cappella arrangements of the rhythmic “Olha a Rosa Amarela” from Brazil, the Mexican favorite, “Cielito Lindo,” and “El Condor Pasa” from Peru.  Of special interest will be the rich sonority of “Zadrimali Volne” and “Blagoslvi dushe moya Ghospoda” by Russian masters, Cesar Cui and Pavel Chesnokov, and the evocative and powerful “How Excellent Thy Name” 20th Century American composition and music education icon, Howard Hanson.

The concert will conclude with the sentimental favorite, “Springtime in the Rockies,’ followed by the choir’s entertaining “Calypso Loco,”(in seven parts)  and its traditional “A Day in Spring.” Tickets available at Day Murray Music, from choir members and at the door.  All seats are $10 ($6 students) and admission is open to all over age 6.  For further information, check our Facebook page or call 801-537-1412

Spring Concerts May 1 & 2, 2015

To help you get in the mood for our concerts tomorrow and Saturday (May 1 & 2, 2015, 7:30 p.m. ), here is a clip of the Choir performing Ralph B. Woodward’s setting of Laudate Dominum two years ago in the same venue – the lovely First Presbyterian Church on South Temple in Salt Lake City.  This year you can hear Mozart’s setting of Laudate Dominum as well as many other immortal musical treasures.  For additional information about what’s on the program and ticket information please see this post.  The Choir looks forward to singing for you!