Chorale pays tribute to early folk, country, spiritual, jazz and patriotic music

Chorale members Norm Webber of Canastota (left) and Valerie Wood of Rome (right) discuss their concert solos with Chorale Director Kimberly Nethaway of Rome (center).

(Oneida, NY- May 2013Norm, Kim, Val 1) The Oneida Area Civic Chorale will present “The American Experience” on Sunday May 19 at 4 p.m. at the Kallet Civic Center, 159 Main St. Under the direction of Kimberly Nethaway of Rome, the 100-voice community chorus will perform American folk music, spirituals, Broadway tunes, jazz and patriotic songs, all served up with a slice of all-American apple pie.  The chorus will be accompanied by pianists Bernadette VanValkenburg of Sherrill and Heather O’Connell of Oneida.

The concert of American music will begin with a medley of folk music titled “American Tapestry,” arranged by Ed Lojeski.  “Skip to My Lou,” “Old Dan Tucker,” “Sweet Betsy From Pike” and “Shenendoah” will provide reminders that there was fun to be had during the difficult days of the settling of our country, as well as the feelings of the settlers as they engaged in the westward expansion of the United States.

The Chorale will perform several traditional spirituals including “This Little Light of Mine” and a medley titled “Swingin’ With the Saints,” both arranged by contemporary American composer Mark Hayes.  The group will also sing “Amazing Grace,” one of the most well-known of all folk hymns and one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

To celebrate American country music, the women of the Chorale will perform a rendition of “I Fall to Pieces,” the Hank Cochran/Harlan Howard tune made famous in 1961 by the Queen of Country Music, Miss Patsy Cline. The 1951 hit “Hey, Good Lookin,’” written and recorded by the legendary Hank Williams, will be offered by the men of the Chorale, with a solo by Norm Webber of Canastota.

What could be more American than a chorus of children singing Disney songs?  A group of 20 “Chorale Kids,” along with their Chorale-member relatives and friends will perform “A Disney Silly Sing-along” including “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Following this lively segment, the audience will have a chance to get into the spirit of the afternoon by participating in a good old American sing-a-long.

Soloist Steve Fisher of Canastota will lead off a salute to American composer George M. Cohan with “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”  Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” will feature a solo by Valerie Wood of Rome, and Tina Moreau-Jones of Utica will solo on the Gershwin tune “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”

The Chorale will take the audience “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” before heading to New York’s Great White Way for a Broadway salute consisting of several tunes from the choral medley “Made in the USA,” arranged by Mac Huff.  American composer Irving Berlin’s classic, “God Bless America,” will bring the afternoon’s musical program to a close, but The American Experience will continue with an apple pie reception catered by Elaine Clark’s La Vie Boheme Bistro, 109 Madison St. Oneida.

Tickets for “The American Experience” are $10, with students 12 and under admitted free.  Tickets are available from Chorale members, at W.J. Hinman Jewelers, 115 Main St., Oneida, or by calling 697-3377.  The Kallet Civic Center is handicapped-accessible.

For more information, call 761-9701 and visit


By martha

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