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The River City Men's Chorus and conductor David Glaze offered up a couple of uplifting hours to open its 2018-19 season Sunday at Little Rock's Second Presbyterian Church.

The program, titled "Let Music Live," focused on songs with "inspirational texts." Among the more inspiring performances:

• "Anthems of Love," Dan Forrest's setting of a text by Susan Bentall Boersma, with a nice introductory solo by tenor Mark Hamby

• "Alway Something Sings," another Forrest setting, of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, discovering music in the tiniest niches of nature; tenor Rusty Hart provided a lovely, elevating vocalise between stanzas

• "The Ground," a richly tonal piece by Ola Gjeilo, a setting of highlight lines from the Latin Mass

• "Wana Baraka," a Kenyan alleluia that starts softly and builds in complexity and exultation

• "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," bass/baritone Anthony Valley giving a very spiritual kickoff to the traditional tune

• "Think on Me," a memory song by Mary Queen of Scots (and how often do you get to hear a song by Mary Queen of Scots these days?) that featured a fine tenor solo by Gates Smith.

• "The Awakening" by Joseph M. Martin, the opening number that provides the concert title, with a reprise of the more joyous portion as the finale.

The chorus honored the passing of founding member B. Travis Tunnell with a performance of "Dance With the Storm" by Andrew Lippa and a posthumous award. Violinist Kiril Laskarov, who led the eight-piece "pit band," took the lead in a string-quartet version of the "Andante" movement from Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto as a second-half entr'acte.

Glaze, chorus and players repeat the program at 7 p.m. today and Thursday at the church, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock. Admission is free. Additional information is available by calling (501) 377-1080 or at the website, rivercitymenschorus.com.

Metro on 09/17/2018

Print Headline: Season curtain raiser by chorus uplifting

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