The Ohio Northern University Choir performed at WOLA on Saturday evening, May 28 as part of their 2016 43 city tour. Kathy Newton, Church Administrator at WOLA organized the event. Money raised from ticket sales will benefit the Operation Warm Winter Program which provides warm coats and boots to children in the Intermountain area.
The program consisted of over 20 selections from a wide variety of genres including sacred music, Americana, gospel, contemporary, international, folk, and a touch of jazz.
Dr. Ben Ayling did an excellent job directing the choir. He not only guided their performance impeccably, he also established a friendly rapport with the audience sharing informative introductions to each number with humble demeanor.
The ONU Choir consists of 39 members – 20 men and 19 women. Dr. Ayling deployed their talent with an artful array of arrangements. In one of the songs, he divided the choir into three sections stationed in the front and back of the sanctuary to provide a studio effect.
The first portion of the program consisted of sacred music. It also contained a moving composition “For Our World.” The text for this song was a poem written by the young poet Mattie J.T. Stepanek on 9/11.
Following the performances of sacred music, there was an intermission. The church provided coffee and cookies for refreshments. A love offering was taken up for the choir, and the choir also had cd’s for sale.
The second half of musical treats contained a wide variety of creative innovation.
One selection, the poem “Jabberwocky” set to music by Sam Pottle, used a variety of toy instruments such as shakers, cymbals, triangles and a clacker to accent the music.
In a jazzy rendition of “Eat Your Vegetables” a giant carrot came out and danced up and down the aisles.
In the course of the concert, Dr. Ayling provided educational tidbits about the composers and selections, introduced several members of the choir with special talents, and revealed the majors of the choir members.
We all enjoyed a fun performance by a female barbershop quartet…
… a bass/baritone duet…
… and much much more that would take a book to describe. Each of the more than a score of chorale offerings was superb.
As the program drew to an end we heard a heart-warming rendition of “This Land is Your Land” that ended with a cascade of voices that sounded like bells descending a tiered waterfall.
Then the chorus treated us to a medley of the U.S. Armed Forces anthems. As each anthem was sung, people who had served or had family members who had served in that branch of the military stood up and were applauded by the audience.
Dr. Ayling shared that Burney is the only town in the country that has been visited by all seven touring ONU Choirs over the past four decades. What an honor!
In finale, the ONU Choir surrounded the audience and serenaded us with “May God Be With You Until We Meet Again.”
One of WOLA’s themes is to bring God’s Kingdom in the Intermountain Area. This concert certainly gave us a taste. Looking forward to meeting again…