Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Betty Vanderwielen

High School Auditorium Glows with Music


December 21, 2017

Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder

A small section of the Missoula Community Chorus "glowing" on the Seeley Swan High School stage.

SEELEY LAKE – Seeley-Swan's new high school auditorium stage was almost too small to hold the 80 singers and musicians who came from Missoula on Dec. 17 as part of the 2017-2018 concert season presented by Alpine Artisans' 2 Valleys Stage (2VS). The performers, Missoula Community Chorus (MCC), is a non-audition chorus open to all who love to sing. Their mission is to "Inspire Community Through Music."

The concert program took its name from the first song the group performed, "Glow" by Eric Whitaker. According to the Conductor's Notes supplied by Artistic Director/Conductor Ron Wilcott, the signature song and each of the succeeding ones glowed in its own way.

The group's second selection was Vivaldi's "Gloria." Wilcott explained that though the Latin prayer consists of six short phrases, Vivaldi converted it into six glorious musical movements, each phrase receiving one full movement. The accompaniment of violins, viola, cello, oboe, bassoon and keyboard added to the grandeur of the vocal harmonies.

A smaller group within the Chorus, the Chamber Chorale, performed a somber song in German by Johann Sebastian Bach and followed that with Jingle Bells. The rollicking arrangement by David Blackwell, which began with vocals imitating the sound of horses clomping, divided into a variety of harmonies swirling in and around the words of the simple song. The performance demonstrated the artistic advantages available to a large congregation of voices.

Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder

Singing center back (white beard) is former Seeley Lake resident Rolly Meinholtz who helped start 2 Valleys Stage. Meinholtz sang in both the Chorus and the Chamber Chorale.

The concert continued with the entire chorus performing a mix of songs both solemn and holiday inspired. For their penultimate selection, the chorus members flowed down from the stage to encircle the audience. They sang "Night of Silence" by Dan Kantor and led the audience into a joint singing of "Silent Night." Then the audience was prompted to repeat "Silent Night" while MCC simultaneously sang "Night of Silence." The technique is call a simultaneous quodlibet and allowed the audience to experience the sensation of being one component of a large chorus, singing their own part, while being enveloped in a larger song.

In her introductory comments, 2VS Director Carol Evans noted that among the members of MCC was former Seeley Lake resident Rolly Meinholtz. Meinholtz, his wife Peggy and 2VS Assistant Director Bob Green were the original impetus for the creation of 2VS.

Meinholtz later expressed his pleasure at the growth of 2VS and the addition of the new high school stage as a performance venue. He said he felt very proud to have been a part of it all but emphasized that it could never have happened without the support of the entire Alpine Artisan organization and the continued support of the whole Clearwater Valley community.


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