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Summertime Singers

“By Special Request”

The Summertime Singers return for their 8th appearance at the Candlelight Concert Series, Thursday July 26th at 7:00 PM.   Summertime Singers includes singers from local church choirs, Community Chorus, RainShadow, and other music groups, dedicated people who sing in the summer because there is always beautiful music to do…and so little time! Some of the twenty-two singers have been part of the group since the beginning, and four are new this year. Conducting the group are Colleen Johnson and Jonathan Stafford.  Helen Lauritzen accompanies the choir.

Rutter’s “Requiem” and Kirchner’s “Behold New Joy,” are the two major works which anchor the program, pieces requested by the singers.  A poll of singers came back with answers like, “Anything by Rutter,” and “Please do one of the Kirchner pieces,” and, “Behold New Joy, for sure.”  There were other requests for individual favorites, but these two composers stood out as ones choir members wanted to sing.  From among the others suggested, the program includes two Brahms art songs, “Gloria” from the Missa Kenya by Basler, and “Flowers,” composed by local musician Karl Bach especially for the Summertime Singers.  Rounding out the program are informal pieces by the two featured composers.  “Lord, Don’t Move the Mountain,” is one of Shawn Kirchner’s gospel pieces, and the “Banquet Fugue” is Rutter in sarcastic mode, not profound but funny.

Rutter’s “Requiem” is a magnificent setting of the text of the Latin Mass for the Dead, encompassing a wide range of emotions from deep sorrow to exultation.  The choir is supported in their performance by Maryann Tapiro on cello, and percussionist Otto Smith on timpani.  Soloists are Linda Bach, Mary Munford, and Katherine Ottaway.  Jon Stafford will both conduct and play drums to accompany the Basler “Gloria.”

Shawn Kirchner’s “Behold New Joy” is a setting of four medieval hymns, done in Old German, English, and Latin.  This tecniques is “macaronic,” and adds to the authenticity of this stirring piece.  Director Colleen Johnson says, “This is so much easier the second time around! Not everyone knows these works, but some do, and the familiarity with the notes leaves us room for more sensitive interpretation, for polishing every note and phrase.  Someone said that being in rehearsal is inspiring, and I have been moved to tears by the beauty.”

Talking about her singers, Johnson says, “This is exactly what we see in the Summertime Singers – people who put in hours of preparation, who stretch themselves technically and emotionally to portray the pictures the composers want to communicate to the listeners, people who are willing to work hard to do the best performance possible”. 

The concert will be performed at Port Townsend’s oldest Victorian Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, 609 Taylor Street, across from the Community Center, Uptown.  Doors open at 6:00 PM, – admission is by a suggested $10 donation (children admitted free).  Refreshments will be served following the performance.  Call (360) 774-1644 or Email for further information.

Candlelight Concerts

Trinity United Methodist Church has sponsored The Candlelight Concert Series for the past 15 years.  Our venue is hosted in our sanctuary on the 4th Thursday of each month (3rd Thursday, November & December).  Trinity UMC is the oldest church in the Port Townsend area, established in 1854 and built in 1871.  We are located in the “uptown” area of Port Townsend on Taylor Street.  Although a smaller congregation, our music program thrives.  The church is fortunate to have two wonderful organs:  a 1902 Mudler Tracker Pipe Organ (Romantic style) as well as an 18th century (emulation) of a Silbermann Baroque style Pipe Organ. In addition we have a superb Czechoslovakian Petrof Grand Piano that can be used to accompany our performing artists.  Our sanctuary is ideal for concerts ranging up to 150 attendees.  Our performers have given us many compliments regarding our superb acoustics – both vocal and instrument performances.

The Candlelight Concert Series actually began due to a desperate need.  On Wednesday, February 28th, 2001 (Ash Wednesday) at 10:54am the Nisqually Earthquake (6.8 magnitude) rattled the Puget Sound region.  Trinity’s 130 year old structure on that date was literally shaken off its foundation with the Bell Tower leaning precariously over Taylor Street which closed that section of Taylor for several weeks.  The resulting repair estimates were well over $50,000, which required that the church be jacked up off its foundation to insert several steel I-Beams.  In an effort to raise funds, the Candlelight Concert Series was inaugurated.  After all of the repair was completed, Trinity members discovered that there was a real need for a venue that showcased our local area musicians – and it continues to thrive to this day!

Our goal with Candlelight Concerts is to provide a venue for local and surrounding area musical artists.  We try to concentrate on aspiring youth but we also host mature groups and individuals that are interested in performing in a benefit style concert.  Our performers range from coloratura sopranos, string quartets, jazz & blues quartets, as well as choral groups of all sizes.  Our programs range in length from an hour to an hour and a half, as requested by the artist.  We can arrange for a short “standing” intermission.  Following each concert we host a reception with refreshments and we can provide an area for promotional literature and CDs if the performers wish to sell them.  Our admission is by donation only (suggested $10, children free) with the proceeds from our concerts going to local charitable organizations (e.g., Dove House, Gathering Place, Jumping Mouse Children’s Center, etc.) as well as the Trinity’s own Victorian restoration program of our now 145 year old historic structure.  For our performing artists, we often solicit a charitable organization of their choosing.