From live performances in Libby Gardner Hall, First Presbyterian Church, and Abravanel Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah), 2010, Cherbourne Music

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Review: Edward Reichel, Deseret News

Founded and directed by Ralph B. Woodward, the Salt Lake Children’s Choir has been a staple of the local music scene for the last 30 years. During that time they’ve recorded several CDs. Their most recent two-disc album, which has just been released, is a collection of music that has become choir and audience favorites over the years.

It contains all of the ensemble’s signature pieces, like Woodward’s “A Day in Spring.” It gives a wonderful sampling of the choir’s expansive repertoire, with music from the renaissance, art songs by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms, folk songs as well as many of Woodward’s own pieces.

It’s nearly impossible to single out selections for mention, since all of the tracks are delightful, but a few stand out for various reasons. Among these are Giovanni Palestrina’s “Gloria Patri;” Brahms’ “A Thought Like Music;” Woodward’s setting of William Blake’s “Little Lamb;” the Andean folk song “El Humahuaqueño;” and the snappy Jimmy McHugh song “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”

This album is taken from concerts at different Salt Lake City venues and recorded between 1994 and this year; a lot of children are represented here, but there is an amazing continuity in these performances. Woodward has done a wonderful job with these young voices. Their singing is articulate and cleanly phrased and they bring finely crafted expressiveness and lyricism to their interpretations.

What comes through after listening to this album is that Woodward has helped his choirs realize their potential and instilled in them a love of singing. And, quite honestly, one can hardly give youngsters a greater gift than that.

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