By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Featuring nine songs, an uplifting choral program will be presented this weekend in Yukon.
“Songs of Comfort, Healing, Hope and Peace” will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Each hour-long performance will be inside Marian Hall at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church, 600 Garth Brooks Blvd.
The two performances will be presented by the El Reno Community Chorus, which is changing its name to the “Community Chorus of Central Oklahoma”.
The Community Chorus traditionally has performed two annual concerts but combined them in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and related safety protocols.
This weekend’s pre-Thanksgiving Community Chorus program in Yukon was originally set April 19, on the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
“It was a memorial to that, but we had to cancel because of the pandemic,” said Yukon’s Kathy Beaucourt, the chorus’ co-president. “We’ve rescheduled. The focus is not only on the bombing memorial, but on how everybody’s lives have been impacted by COVID-19.”
Admission to “Songs of Comfort, Healing, Hope and Peace” is $5 for adults and $3 for students.
Facemasks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.
“The Community Chorus has been in existence over 40 years,” Beaucourt said. “We present a concert in the fall and a concert in the spring. We try to make those concerts either relevant to the time of year or whatever’s happening in life at that point in time. Or we have theme-type concerts.”
The Saturday night and Sunday afternoon musical programs are designed to comfort the audience.
“We’ve tried to make it more hopeful, so people leave there feeling good about things,” Beaucourt said. “Although the program is ‘in memory of,’ it’s meant to be hopeful and uplifting.
“We’ve done everything from Mozart to movies, Bach to Broadway. But this time, because the original concert was scheduled for April 19 on the 25th anniversary, and with the pandemic, we decided to keep the same theme but extend the focus.”
The first song, “Canticle of Hope,” was written for and dedicated to the people of Oklahoma City as they struggled to heal after the April 19, 1995 terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Other featured songs on this weekend’s concert program are:
“Prayer of the Children”, “A Gospel Song of Peace”, “Light a Candle”, “High Hopes”, “Neighbor, Take This Torch of Peace”, “How Long?”, “Even When He Is Silent”, and “We Are the Voice.”
The El Reno Community Chorus, established in 1974, is the oldest, continually performing community chorus in Oklahoma.
Robert Noble is the director and Patricia Black is the accompanist.
Other Community Chorus voices beside Beaucourt are: Lynn Buchanan, Nancy Sharp (president), Celia Spitz, Martha Yount, Cindy Guinn, Leslie Sausins, Kelly Zachgo, Peggy Kindiger, Guy Mulanax, Mike Thompson, Mike Black, and Dave Brabec.
St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church is the Community Chorus’ new home, with rehearsals and performances inside the warm and ambient Marian Hall. Many chorus members also are members of the Yukon parish.
The non-profit Community Chorus features performers from across central Oklahoma, about a third in Yukon.
“To remain the ‘El Reno’ Community Chorus really didn’t make a lot of sense,” said Beaucourt, explaining the pending name change.
For more information, call (405) 570-2428.