Saturday, June 2, 2018 was a very special night for award-winning local community choir, The Karen Schuessler Singers.
It was the choir’s 25th Silver Anniversary Concert — and all the stops were pulled out to make the evening’s program memorable for both performers and audience.
Delighting London audiences since their debut in 1993, KSS has become known for its widely varied, accessible and innovative programming, and this night was exemplary of these traits.
The evening’s program kicked off with a simply marvelous rendition of John Rutter’s Gloria I, followed by an arrangement of legendary Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers’ Fogarty’s Cove arranged by Ron Small.
Karen Schuessler, the choir’s namesake and conductor, joked that the Rogers tune was one that the group had intended to include in an earlier concert, but due to time constraints, it was not performed.
“We should do a whole concert of songs we never got around to doing,” she quipped.
The stirring spiritual Deep River, arranged by Brian Ratcliffe was next, followed by audience favourite Battle of Jericho, arranged by Moses Hogan.
An older piece, Dirait-on, was introduced by conductor Schuessler as being 500 years old but just as interesting today. It was.
One of the most successful shows KSS has ever mounted was 2018’s Tribute to ABBA. The choir performed the catchy tune Super Trouper, complete with a driving disco beat provided by the evening’s percussionists , Greg Mainprize and Rob Larose.
Another traditional tune, Wondrous Love, arranged by Paul Halley, closed out the first part of the program before Intermission.
Part II opened with Ralph Vaughn Williams’ O Clap Your Hands, followed By Eriks Estenvaid’s Stars, and then Hans Leo Hassler’s Cantate Domino.
Reaching into the its earlier production of the Road to Freedom, the KSS Singers stirred the house with a rendition of Kevin White’s Song of the Children arranged by Brian Ratcliffe.
Conductor Schuessler pointed out to the audience that one of next season’s concerts is Sondheim & Schonberg, featuring Sondheim’s greatest hits and music from Schonberg’s Les Mis! The choir then performed Master of the House from Les Miserables.
The evening ended off with crowd favourite, The Long and Winding Road, from the choir’s homage to The Beatles’ songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
After a much deserved standing ovation, it was off to the church’s basement for a reception where audience members could view memorabilia from the group’s first 25 years and mingle with the members of the KSS choir.
It was a fine evening for performer and audience member alike.
Rick Young, June 3, 2018