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      A PLACE TO SING by Barbara Biddison

      thA plethora of concerts, a superabundance but not an overabundance, a fullness, a feast. The Spring Concert presented by community music lovers has arrived featuring singers of all ages from second graders to at least 80-plus. All enhanced by the best accompanists in the world, and a half dozen wonderful directors, and some fine percussion, and all the supportive families and organizations and schools. How fortunate we are!!

      First was the Wellsboro High School Spring Choral Concert. The Dickens Singers, the Women's Choir, the Men's Choir are smaller selected groups, and the 166-voice Concert Chorus features all the high school kids who want to sing. It gives a person goosebumps. And, of course, for this end-of-year concert there are the senior solos and the awards. Mr. Daniel Sensenig is the new director, and I'm so happy to see that the high school choral program is in such good hands. Mrs. Judy Smithgall, loved and inspired by all, retired last year and prepared the students for a smooth transition, and these kids were motivated to move on to a new director and to keep singing in their lives. Decades ago my own sons sang through junior high and high school in Wellsboro, and music is still a valued part of their lives.

      Then just two days later, a Musical Mosaic featured the Wellsboro Women's Chorus and the Wellsboro Men's Chorus and the Wednesday Morning Musicales in their Spring Concert graciously hosted by the Methodist Church. We loved the West Side Story medley, and Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat, and songs from South Pacific, and the combined choruses mass number at the end. Many of us have sung with these adult choruses for "lotsa years" and some singers are newer and younger. I've been with the Women's Chorus for over 30 years....we call ourselves "sisters in song." Some Men's Chorus guys can claim more years than that! And we all love to sing.

      And, one day after that, Mother's Day Sunday, we went to Steadman on the MU campus for the Hamilton-Gibson Children and Youth Choirs' spring exploration of "Connections" in song. All but the littlest ones had been on tour a week before, and then they brought it back home for all of us to enjoy. There are four choirs who sing separately and together. Choir Too had 6 little ones up there, and they sang in German "Bist du bei mir" and were marvelously choreographed for "Trolls." and they received thunderous applause. A select Young Women/Young Men's Choir sang the haunting "One Call Away" with a moving repeated solo by Noah Vickery. The Children's Concert Choir, though not as large as it has sometimes been, sang with really impressive confidence and understanding. The last song before the beautiful "A Universal Blessing" was an energetic and hand-clapping, hip slapping rendition of "I'll Tell My Ma," an Irish Children's Song....sung by all the children. More thunderous applause.

      I had a high school chorus teacher, many years ago in south Texas, who so inspired students that the audition-only A Cappella Choir had to meet for practice before classes in the morning because so many football players wanted to sing and they practiced after school. I feel so lucky that I still have a place to sing and that I live in a community that values music.

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