Central Coast Chorale presents spring concerts

“Anything Goes,” an annual spring concert series by the Central Coast Chorale, will feature performances in Yachats on April 27, in Lincoln City on April 28 and in Newport on May 5. (Courtesy photo)

The Central Coast Chorale will be presenting its annual spring concert series “Anything Goes!” in late April and early May.

Performances will begin in Yachats with an evening concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. at the Yachats Commons. The concert will be repeated in Lincoln City the following afternoon, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Finally, they will wrap up the season with a concert in Newport at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at the First Presbyterian Church. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person for admission, or $20 per family.

It is the choir’s tradition to make their spring concerts an anything goes affair, hence the name of the concert. When choir director Mary Lee Scoville is asked what “Anything Goes” means, she replies, “It means we get to sing anything we want.”

This season, the choir has chosen to sing a beautiful and technically challenging piece from the classical repertoire, Vaughn Williams’ “The Spring Time of the Year.” The composer adapted this song from an old English folk tune, a lovely if rather sad tale of a sailor and his lady love. They have also chosen two songs by American composer Aaron Copland. The rhythmically complicated lullaby “The Little Horses,” a part of Copland’s Old American Songs series, can be tricky to sing, but is fun to hear. And the lovely, sweet, old Shaker song, “Simple Gifts,” adapted by Copland first for his ballet Appalachian Spring and then for the American song collection, will be familiar to most listeners.

Turning to some more upbeat tempos, the chorale will journey to the Caribbean for a rendition of Harry Belafonte’s “Turn the World Around,” perhaps most famous from its performance with the Muppets on Sesame Street. And then they’ll move on to Africa for “Kuimba!” a folk song adapted by Texas composer and educator Victor Johnson. The choir will add some drums to this song that encourages people to sing of love and peace with a joyful heart.

There’s also a lot of fun on the program for this spring show. In addition to “Animal Crackers,” three pieces by Eric Whitacre that adapt the rather silly poems of Ogden Nash for choral voices, the Central Coast Chorale will also be singing a piece by comedy composer P.D.Q. Bach, better known in real life as Peter Schikele. Schikele likes to take real classical pieces and make them funny. The choir will be singing “My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth,” a parody of Thomas Morley’s madrigal “My Bonnie Lass She Smileth.” It’s a subtle difference until you really listen to the lyrics and catch the musical jokes inserted in the score.

The Women of Note octet will, as always, be the choir’s special guests at the Anything Goes concerts. This year they will be singing choral adaptations of two poems, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Sara Teasdale, and “Down by the Salley Gardens,” from Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Both are set to hauntingly lovely tunes, the first by Kevin Medley features an oboe accompaniment and the second, arranged by Michael Cleveland, has become one of the most recorded Irish songs of all time.

The Central Coast Chorale was founded in 1997 by Scoville and a group of local residents who wanted to enjoy singing in a convivial, yet professional setting. The chorale has since doubled in size and now can claim more than 50 voices. They draw singers from up and down the central coast, as far north as Neskowin and south to Yachats, welcoming new members in January and August. They present three to four concerts a year and pursue a mission of sharing quality choral music with the community.

For more information, go online at centralcoastchorale.com or email [email protected].