‘Haydn out’ at the Choral Society’s spring concert

Stephen C. Foster is known as “the father of American music.”

The Susanville Choral Society presents its spring concert, “Classical Spring,” at 7 p.m. this Friday, May 18 in the Susanville United Methodist Church.

Choral Society Conductor and Artistic Director, Liudmila Mullin, provided an overview of the upcoming show. “We have a very aggressive season finale lined up for our audience members. For starters, we will perform a piece that was written in 1876, by Henry Clay Work. This is one of those songs that just continues to resurface in the world as a new “old” hit. The song, “Grandfather’s Clock,” is a story told from the perspective of a grandson looking back on the life of his grandfather, and the clock that was purchased on the day of his birth, which stopped working on the day of his death. Simply a magical tune!”

Matt Mullin is the resident composer of the Susanville Choral Society.

“We’ll also bring in a little Johann Sebastian Bach music, some Gustav Holst, some Giovanni Pergolesi (spring would not be spring without some Pergolesi), a wee bit of Stephen C. Foster and a couple tunes written by our own composer in residence, Matt Mullin.”

According to Mullin, the Choral Society will bring in what they call a “pocket” orchestra of local and contract musicians to support the performance. The pocket orchestra will include two violins, a cello, a string bass, piano and organ. “This size orchestra is perfectly suited to support the size of the Susanville Choral Society,” Mullin said.

Henry C. Work wrote the song “Grandfather’s Clock” in 1876.

“The choir has been rehearsing once each week for the past three months, with section leaders like Shirley Bowden, Lisa Bernard, Gwenna MacDonald and Deborah Abbott, organizing supplemental sectional rehearsals to better refine each singer’s skill level. Sectional rehearsals separate out the voice parts so that, for example, sopranos can rehearse exclusively with other sopranos, altos with altos, etcetera. Without the extra work, it would be hard to put the show together just with full choir rehearsals.”

Asked about the music written by her husband, Matt Mullin, “He is a rather prolific composer and arranger. For this show, we will present his songs “Far Out on the Sea,” a ballad expressing the emotions of a person left behind, waiting for the eventual return from the sea of their loved one; and “Trouble in Paradise Polka,” a comedy tune focused on the everyday relationship troubles for couples. With the latter song, he sent out notes to a couple dozen couples and asked them for input on subject matter. Based on the volume of contributions from the invitees, it seems the process of providing contributions on this particular subject may have been therapeutic for some.

“We are staying with our policy of free admission for our concerts, with the hope that our patrons will see fit to leave a donation to help us with production costs. The Friday evening venue at the Methodist Church seems to work best for folks, and we are hoping for a strong turn-out of our patrons.”

Like the Susanville Academy of Music and Youth Orchestra, the Susanville Choral Society is a part of the Susanville Symphony Society organization.

For more information on the Susanville Choral Society and their events, call 251-6738, or stop by their Facebook page.