Commonwealth Chorale sets spring concert schedule

The Commonwealth Chorale will present its spring concert titled “Songs of Reconciliation and Peace” at 4 p.m. in three locations: Saturday, April 20, Grace Hills Baptist Church, 4320 Pumping Station Road, Appomattox; Sunday April 21, Crenshaw United Methodist Church, 200 Church Street, Blackstone; and Sunday, April 28, Farmville United Methodist Church, 212 High Street, Farmville. Concerts are free, and all are invited. 

“The Peaceable Kingdom,” with music by Randall Thompson sets the tone for the concert with a timely reminder from the book of Isaiah: humanity, like “the wolf and the lamb and the calf and the lion, still yearns for the peace that comes through reconciliation and love. 

“Inspired by the ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ painting by Edward Hicks, the chorale will sing of Isaiah’s vision for all creation to live in peace and harmony,” Choral Artistic Director Carol Henderson said. “Our concert weaves together a variety of musical textures that express that idea.” 

Continuing with the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “The Dream Isaiah Saw” combines the prophet’s vision with that of our present-day world. The third concert cornerstone “The Promise of Living” by Aaron Copland, offers an uplifting message that echos through the years from sharecroppers mired in the Great Depression: “Let’s sing our song with our hearts, and find a promise in that song. The promise of ending is labor and sharing our loving.” 

A common denominator of humanity — peace at home — begins with Dvorák’s ‘Goin’ Home’ and continues with Brahm’s ‘O that I Knew the Way Back Home,’ and ‘The Seal Lullaby,’ Kipling’s poetry set to a hauntingly beautiful melody as a mother seal sings to her pup. 

Three spirituals travel the road to world peace with a lively beat: ‘Elijah Rock,’ ‘Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,’ and ‘We Shall Walk Through the Valley.’ Contemporary favorite ‘Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World’ reminds us of good sights along the way. 

Accompaniment will be provided by Susie Thomas, pianist, and Judy Amos, organist. Soloists include Ken Vaiden, Naomi Gallub, William Powell, Michael Harris, Sarah Reynolds, Ellis Parker, ukulele; Azariah Rivera percussion; and Ray Hinde, trombone. 

Henderson, the Chorales’ artistic director since 2019, received her bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Westminster Choir College. She currently serves as minister of music at Clarksville Presbyterian Church. 

The Chorale’s membership that currently includes 40 singers represents all ages and musical backgrounds from many surrounding counties and towns. 

“We cordially invite local audiences to join us for this special music,” Henderson concluded. “We believe it will engage your heart and inspire your soul with its everlasting message of hope.”