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Monday, March 19, 2007
Monday Evening at the Historic American Fork City (Recital) Hall

A pleasant Monday evening concert for the family, in American Fork's newest recital venue.

This evening my two year old and I walked a few blocks to American Fork's Historic City Hall. (I never see the words "City Hall" in American Fork these days without the word "Historic" in front.) Our objective was a "Family Concert" by the Utah Children's Choir (UCC). In the interest of full disclosure, I note that two family members sing in the choir, and one accompanies.

The Utah Children's Choir draws children and youth mostly from northern half of Utah County. It was independent for some years, but now is sponsored by the Pleasant Grove Arts Commission. It's actually two choirs, the Concert Choir and the Choristers, a training choir. At present, the Concert Choir has 19 members, and there are 23 Choristers. They are ably directed by Alpine's Kay Asay, and Marilyn Rudolph excels as the ensemble's vocal coach. Membership is by audition. A fairly active group of parents supports the choir. UCC is funded by grants, donations, and ticket sales at their public concerts. (Junior Rodeback and I got in for a total of $3.00 -- and no, neither choirbodies nor their accompanists get complimentary tickets to lavish on their loved ones.)

I've been to quite a few UCC concerts in the last several years, since family members have been involved. I've enjoyed every one of them in the way one enjoys a fine musical performance, not just the provisional way one enjoys the musical efforts of one's children when they are learning. I've attended performances in Provo, Alpine, Pleasant Grove, and in Salt Lake City at Abravanel Hall and Libby Gardner Hall. (The choir itself has ranged more broadly than this.)

This is a serious choir with a broad and challenging repertoire. This evening's concert was a typical of them in most ways. It was just a bit longer than an hour. The experience was enhanced by brief, well-prepared introductions to each piece, presented by the singers. As usual, the choirs preferred to sing works in their original languages, which tonight included English, Latin, Hebrew, and (in some sense) Dutch. A few numbers had excellent soloists; the most impressive may have been one of the Choristers (the training choir) who soloed in "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."

There were two noteworthy departures from the norm tonight. First, it was UCC's first performance at American Fork's Historic City (Recital) Hall, which served well and was filled to capacity. Second, it was billed as a "family concert," at which children of all ages were welcome. (Usually, the youngest children are, shall we say, welcome to stay home from UCC concerts.) That said, I must note that the considerable number of infants and young children present were unusually well behaved. Except for a few loud cries -- none from my guy, and far fewer generally than one would expect -- even the youngest members of the audience were quiet. (I wonder: Why can't this happen at church? But I digress.)

On a related note, there is a fine new visual feature at the Historic City Hall: a temporary exhibit of 37 Mary Ann Judd paintings of historic American Fork buildings. There's a big front-page article in last Thursday's American Fork Citizen about this. Someday, perhaps the story will be available on the web, sans pictures, and I'll include a link here . . . but at the moment the Herald's web site is a week behind.

Note: I'm not aware that UCC has a web site, and I don't see anything about them at Pleasant Grove's official site. So if someone is interested in supporting the choir, auditioning, finding out about concerts, etc., e-mail me, and I'll pass it on to someone associated with the choir.

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