Those who attend an upcoming concert can have their cake and eat it, too!
Blair Concert Chorale is marking its 30th anniversary season beginning with a special celebration concert on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in the Lakemont neighborhood of Altoona.
Since such a happy occasion deserves a cake, plan on having a piece.
“First you have to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and blow out the candles,” joked Jane Gable, operations manager of the Blair Concert Chorale, promising a unique rendition of the song.
The real sweet treat, however, will be the concert.
The BCC Celebrates 30 Years will honor the past as Artistic Director Doctor Ryan Beeken joins former BCC artistic directors Nancy Rosensteel Way and Jeff Webb to lead the musicians in favorites from the past three decades.
“It will be a fun concert,” Gable assured. “Every piece is enjoyable. There are favorites from the past that everyone likes. It will be a wonderful opportunity to see the previous conductors. It’s a celebration of everybody.”
Beeken said the group will perform a variety of pieces from just about every genre of music.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating our present and our past while we look toward the future,” he stated.
Also planned are performances by the BCC Children’s Choir, under the director of Jennifer and Scott Pappal.
The Altoona Area High School Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Kelly Sipes, will also be featured.
As the Chorale observes this milestone, it is a great opportunity to recognize this artistic gem in the region.
“It is important for our community because it’s a forum where a very diverse group of people from all walks of life come together and collaborate to do something positive and to celebrate beauty, humanity, and compassion,” said Beeken.
The mission of the Blair Concert Chorale is to foster a growing appreciation and awareness of quality choral music through performing excellence and educational activities.
According to Gable, the BCC was a continuation of the Keystone Chorale and, prior to that, the Altoona Choral Society.
“Choral music in Altoona has been going on for a very long time,” she noted.
The only auditioned choir in Blair County, the adult chorale consists of about 40 members from Blair and surrounding counties. About 30 youth from the Greater Altoona area make up the children’s choir.
“The chorale prides itself on maintaining its high standards and on providing quality music to the community,” Gable said.
She pointed out some recent offerings that she labeled “cutting edge.” They include Alzheimer’s Stories by Robert S. Cohen and Herschel Garfein, which was the chorale’s 2017-2018 season finale. The concert highlighted the impact the disease has on patients and caregivers.
“I see this organization and the music and concerts that we’re producing as being a vehicle to highlight important social issues or issues that are impacting folks in our region,” Beeken mentioned. “
Attendance to the concerts is typically solid, Gable said.
“We’re expecting a full house for the upcoming concert because there is something there that appeals to everyone,” Gable continued.
The Christmas concert also attracts a lot of music lovers, she reminded. This year’s show, A Universal Yuletide, is scheduled for Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wolf Kuhn Theatre at the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at Penn State Altoona. The Chorale promises to take concert-goers around the world exploring in song how other cultures observe the traditions and customs of Christmas.
The spring concert on March 30, 2019 will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona in honor of the church’s impressive new pipe organ and inaugural concert series. Happy Birthday Mr. Bernstein will highlight works by composer Leonard Bernstein in celebration of the 100th-year-anniversary of his birth. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Music
Director James Dengler will be featured during “Chichester Psalms” for organ and harp. The concert’s second half will highlight Bernstein on Broadway, presenting songs from “Candide” and “West Side Story” with orchestra accompaniment.