Sunday, December 18, 2011

VOCE: Christmas Concert 2011

As an aspiring writer, you learn how to occupy your time with other things while you're busy not getting published.  For me, music is a big outlet.  A couple of months ago, I joined VOCE, a singing group based in Mt. Airy, NC.  I'm often asked why I travel 70 miles round trip to practice with this group.  My answer: my free time is short, and if I'm going to sing, it should be something I've never sung before.  VOCE is one of those groups that dares to try new things.

My first concert with them was a week ago: "Christmas Blessings" performed in Mt. Airy's Central United Methodist Church.  To be honest, I expected no more than five rows to be filled, all of whom would be family members of the singers.  We were all surprised to see the whole sanctuary filled.  The only open spots were a couple of rows reserved for the camera.

I suppose it helped to have local special guests Melva Houston (jazz and blues legend) and Doug Reeves (country singer & writer of "Christmas in Mayberry").  In the audience, we also had Betty Lynn (actress who played Barney's heartthrob, Thelma Lou), but she was too frail to come up front.  I also halfway expected Andy Griffith to make a surprise appearance, and that he'd come shake our hand after the concert, but alas; I was told he lives out in California and no longer lives in Mt. Airy.  Dang!

My claim to fame is that I got to be a backup singer for Melva when she sang "Elijah Rock."  You can watch it for yourself in this video.  Start it at about 6:00.  (Though, Doug Reeves' "Andy's Mayberry Christmas Card List," which comes first, is very entertaining.)

VOCE is directed by uprising conductor and composer, Mark Daniel Merritt.  Three of his pieces were featured in this concert: "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day", "Deo Gratias", and "Precious Little One."  The last of these pieces was my favorite.

With Melva's gospel singing, Doug's Mayberry songs, the brass and organ, the choir's singing, and the standing ovation at the end, it was all an enjoyable experience.  I'm proud to be part of this organization and look forward to future concerts.  I may not be published, but at least I'll be happy until I get there!

Here's our whole concert minus the congregation sing-along in the middle.  Enjoy!

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1 comment:

Kim said...

Apparently Andy Griffith lives in NC, not California. Who knew?