Editorial — Making a joyful noise

We’re on the cusp of summer already, with record heat staring us in the face even before we’ve cleaned up our Memorial Day picnic baskets.

And the news is as searing as if we were in mid-summer. The city has been stunned by shootings and killings; a mass-murderer apparently has been lurking across the river in Southern Indiana. Pakistan, a nation that has nuclear weapons and one that is supposed to be our ally, is nevertheless unhappy with us, as are the rest of the usual international subjects — Iran, North Korea, from time to time China and the everything-old-is-new-again Russian Federation.

The economy still grows with the acceleration of refrigerator mold; graduates are walking off commencement stages with diplomas, huge debts and few job prospects. You can’t hear reasoned political debate for all the shouting and somebody said the wrong person was booted from “Dancing with the Stars.”

What’s needed is some good news. What’s needed is a little light to be shone on one of the best kept secrets in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

We’re talking about the Mid-Kentucky Chorus at St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky.

We’re talking about a group of voices that will make you forget about the cost of that upcoming wedding, or the son’s overdue Sallie Mae payments. We’re talking about letting the 70- to 90-voiced chorus take you to the White Cliffs of Dover or the Sunny Side of the Street regardless of the weather.

Earlier this spring, the Mid-Kentucky Chorus — led by the effervescent Theresa Tedder — presented a trio of concerts that featured the music of World War II. The concerts were held in St. Catharine Hall, but it could just as well have been a theater on Broadway in the Big Apple or even our own Kentucky Center for the Arts. Wherever they were, when their voices began to harmonize, the 200 or so people lucky enough to be in the audience had a chance to experience time-travel first hand.

The chorus, if for just a couple of hours, took you to a time when the nation was united in its purpose and sense of sacrifice. It was a time when the music spurred emotions; when all the lyrics could be heard and understood and you weren’t afraid to sing them in front of the children. The whole experience was, in a word, wonderful.

And it wasn’t just the audience that enjoyed that April moment, either.

Those doing the singing and playing, those conjuring Hoagy Carmichael, Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman and others out of our pasts were enjoying the evening as much as anybody.

“There is an enormous sense of community within the choir,” Theresa Tedder said last week in a telephone interview. “We laugh a lot; we enjoy each other a lot. They laugh at me and I laugh at them and that’s important.”

They deserved the joy, Tedder said, since they’ve worked so diligently to become so good.

“We work very, very hard; I should say I work them very hard,” Tedder admitted. “But we really enjoy it because making music is such an extraordinary thing to do.”

It’s certainly extraordinary to be on the receiving end of all the Mid-Kentucky Chorus’ efforts. They’re so enjoyable that it’s difficult to imagine they will be one of the state’s best kept secrets for much longer.

The chorus was founded in 1998, and Tedder began as its concert pianist in 2000 before stepping to the podium a year or so later. It began with just 15 voices, she recalled, but little by little additional singers began to join in the fun.

“I suppose it was in 2005 or 2006 when we reached our tipping point,” she said. “We’d been averaging 45 or 50 singers and then all of a sudden we grew to where we are now. We have 90 singers for our Christmas concerts and about 70 for the spring concerts.”

When in full voice the chorus is capable of producing goose-bumps on even the hard-of-hearing. And its soloists — who include Colette Delaney, Angela Nance, Gary Vidito and others — are remarkably evocative performers.

That’s all good news, of course. The bad news is that you’ll have to wait until later this year to hear them again.

“We’ll start rehearsing again in mid-August, which isn’t that far away,” Tedder noted. “We’ll be rehearsing two different programs — for our Christmas program and for a couple of concerts in October based on a cantata about the life of Abraham Lincoln.”

The Christmas concerts will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky.; Dec. 2 in the afternoon and evening at St. Catharine College; and Dec. 9 at St. Augustine Church in Lebanon, Ky.

Do yourself a favor: Make your reservations early.

Glenn Rutherford
Record Editor

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One reply on “Editorial — Making a joyful noise”
  1. says: Susan Spalding

    Thank you for the great comments! We look forward to seeing many folks from the archdiocese at future concerts. Susan Spalding, Executive Director

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