CSO Chorus World Class

The CSO chorus humbles me as a musician. They are so disciplined and full of musical and technical vigor that it embarrasses me that they do it for free.

This weekend's concerts featured Chas Wetherbee playing the ethereal Lark Ascending of Vaughn Williams, with Ronald Jenkins conducting, and four excellent solo singers. But the real star of the show was the chorus.

I didn't play the Hadyn Lord Nelson Mass, so I heard it from back stage. I could barely hear the orchestra, but the chorus came through loud and clear through the shell. (The chorus is packed up against the back of the stage, so they were closest to me backstage)

Throughout the piece, the CSO Chorus stayed at the front end of the beat, leading the rhythm forward, as they should. Their energy never ceased, their dynamics were always rich and varied. I've always known they were good, but I wanted to note it here for the record.

Of course, any mention of the chorus's quality cannot be complete without mention of Ronald Jenkins, who for years has maintained and developed this world class group. In this concert, Ron was chorus master and conductor, and he succeeded in both commendably.

Although the Haydn would have been plenty of singing to satisfy anyone, the program included three other gorgeous works with chorus: Britten's The Building of the House, Vaughn Williams' Serenade to Music and as an encore, Copland's The Promise Land. Their focus never let down. The music making was full of passion to the last note!

Thank you CSO Chorus, for your years of high quality and spirited music making. You keep my ego in check!

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11 comments for “CSO Chorus World Class

  1. Shelli White
    February 12, 2009 at

    Mr. Thomas,
    I truly appreciate your remarks. It is truly my honor to be a part of the chorus and a member of the CSO family. The performances this past weekend truly came from the heart from the first note to the last. I feel blessed to perform on the same stage with the CSO and the Chorus. I truly appreciate the members of the CSO and Chorus for their dedication to and love for the music we perform. My heart is still overjoyed with emotion from these performances and I am forever thankful. Welcome home, CSO, welcome home.

  2. February 10, 2009 at

    @Mary Gardner: Beautifully said. Hard times wake us up to the good around us. I hope we in the orchestra will never again forget to show our appreciation in the future.

  3. Mary Gardner
    February 10, 2009 at

    Dear David,

    As a member of the chorus since 1981, your remarkable comments are a first! It’s hard to describe how meaningful your words are to this group and to me personally. You are the first one to publicly appreciate us for what we do – sing as volunteers for the love of the music.

    There have been so many moments of musical magic through the years, but none more so than this weekend. As always, you and all the other marvelous musicians played with spirit, passion and tenderness. And every single time the chorus joins you on the stage (yes, even when we’ve done five Holiday Pops shows in two and a half days), I say a prayer of thanks for the honor and privilege of being in that place and performing with all of you.

    Perhaps a silver lining in these fragile times for the CSO can be seen in our deepening appreciation of one another, and in our finding the words to share it.

    Mary Gardner

  4. Carl Evans
    February 10, 2009 at

    Mr. Thomas,
    Having been a CSO Chorus member for 20 years, there have been many memorable moments. This week provided several more. It is such a pleasure performing with outstanding musicians such as those in the CSO and the Chorus. It gives a spiritual uplift that lasts and makes the long hours of rehearsal worthwhile. Especially when a musician of your stature, ability, and reputation recognizes our efforts. Thank you more than words can say.
    Carl Evans

  5. Judy Fettman
    February 10, 2009 at

    Thank you, David!

    It means a lot to the chorus to know that we are appreciated, especially by professional musicians! We thank you, and for the announcement made on behalf of the orchestra. YES! We are your greatest supporters! And as Shelly said above, “without you, we would have no voice!” And thanks to Ron for conducting a splendid weekend of concerts!

  6. February 9, 2009 at

    @T. Davis: Absolutely! I always look forward to the chorus concerts.

  7. February 9, 2009 at

    @Kory Brownlee: I meant every word!

  8. T. Davis
    February 9, 2009 at


    I just read your comments concerning this weekend’s performances. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It means much coming from a musician of your quality and sensitivity. As a member of the CSO Chorus for over 25 years, I was especially proud of these performances on many levels.

  9. Shelly Beaty
    February 9, 2009 at


    It is a pleasure to sing behind such a wonderfully talented orchestra. This past weekend’s performances were truly magical! We are blessed to have you in our city, for without you we would have no voice.

  10. Kory Brownlee
    February 9, 2009 at


    What kind words you left here. I am a new member of the chorus and I thoroughly enjoyed my first concert. The orchestra was marvelous as usual and I felt proud to sing behind you. Thanks again for your comments. They are certainly appreciated.

  11. Ronald Jenkins
    February 9, 2009 at

    Dear David,

    I am very humbled by your kind remarks about the chorus and my work.
    It is always a wonderful thing to receive laudatory comments but when they come from a musical colleague that I admired as much as I do you, then they are even more meaningful. I remember as one of my great experiences conducting, accompanying you in the Mozart “Clarient Concerto” a few years ago.

    Again, thank you! I will share this letter with the chorus.

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