Local dance recitals, organ concerts, the Midnight Sons' barbershop extravaganza. What did you see in the past few busy days?
I'll kick it off with a report from the recital of winners of local music competitions sponsored by the Anchorage Concert Chorus at the UAA Recital Hall on Saturday night. College division winners of ACC Vocal Scholarships included Syndee Waggoner (1st), Dorothy Freeman-Wittig of Fairbanks (2nd), and Jane Park Drebert (3rd). High School Division winners included Bronwyn White (1st), Elena Jarlson (2nd) and Nicole Chamberlin (3rd).
In addition to excellent Alaska vocalists, the program featured astonishing instrumental talent, including the piano-playing Kil sisters, Annie and Joy, who recently won their respective divisions in the Marguerite Downey competition, and another pair of sisters, Geurim (violin) and Yeorim Kim (piano). While most of the instrumentalist maintained stares of stark attention sometimes (understandably) masking stage fright, Yeorim stood out by smiling throughout her performance of Chopin's "Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brilliante."
Other highlights included clarinetists Chip-Hyun Kim and Karl Beheim; Beheim won not only the Music Teachers National Association state senior division prize for woodwinds but the regional prize as well. And violinist Alec Lindsay, who eloquently played the first movement of Barber's Violin Concerto, one of the most beautiful works by any American composer.
On Sunday I went to the Alaska Children's Choir annual Spring Celebration at Anchorage Lutheran Church, a pretty lively acoustic venue for 60 and more voices. But the great thing about trained young singers is that hitting the pitch is automatic for them, not the struggle it becomes - even for experienced singers - as years take their toll on muscles and reflexes. As always, they sounded wonderful, singing difficult music in about six languages FROM MEMORY. A highlight was Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5" - rarely heard here because it takes an orchestra of cellos; but the instruments were rounded up - and they ranged from veteran Art Braendel to high school phenom Kurt Youngblood playing side by side.
We'll have the chance to hear the choir again when they join with other area choirs in "Carmina Burana" for the Anchorage Symphony's season opener next fall.
That's what I saw. What'd you see? Tell us about it here.
-- Mike Dunham