The Village Chorale, directed by Ellen Nagode, presented a remarkable spring concert themed “Feelin’ the Spirit,” recently at Woodlands Auditorium.
Not only were all the chosen compositions written or arranged by Mark Hayes, but the creator and pianist was on hand to direct and perform his unforgettable music. “We are so honored that Mark has once again graciously accepted our invitation to be an integral part of our program,” said Nagode.
Hayes is an award-winning concert pianist and his professional catalogue totals more than 1,000 published works. He’s performed in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, and this was his second visit joining the Village Chorale.
The company began its concert with “Creation is Singing,” which offered the heart and spirit of the group’s mission.
The vigorous opening was followed by selections showing spiritual and inspiring words including “I Will Be That Peace,” as Hayes merged the word, peace, weaving the one-word message into his song’s lyrics in 10 different languages.
The Chorale also had the pleasure of executing Hayes’ arrangements respectfully saluting other composers, including Jerome Kern’s “Long Ago and Far Away”; Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”; and “Pure Imagination” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, a fondly remembered song from the film, “Willie and the Chocolate Factory.”
A fitting dedication was Hayes’ “Simple Gifts” in remembrance of Chorale’s co-founder, Jay McIntyre.
The evening closed with an appropriate rendition of “Music Makes Me Feel Alive.” Soloists, Elizabeth Wiggins, Michelle Nagode, Bob Benke and Greg Nagode along with professional instrumentalists, including the amazing talent of Chorale’s accompanist, Kristen LaMadrid, marked an evening of exquisite compositions and performances.