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Other
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CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
River Choir / Sunday, December 19, 2010
International Choral Music with a Festive Twist
Sonia Tubridy, Director

Sona Tubridy (left) and the River Choir Dec. 19

TUBRIDY LEADS RIVER CHOIR IN FESTIVE HOLIDAY GUERNEVILLE CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sonia Tubridy, along with Carol Menke the late Nina Shuman, must be noted as Sonoma County’s most multi-tasking musician. In addition the playing the piano for chamber groups and in shows, singing, playing the accordion and leading Klezmer groups, Ms. Tubridy has found time to lead a first-rate choir of 14, the River Choir.

In the first of two holiday concerts in Guerneville’s Community Church Dec. 19, the Choir presented thirty disparate works ranging from the time of William Byrd to contemporary carols from South Africa and West India. The audience of 35 was invited to participate in several of the carols, and desserts provided by the singers following the concert were an additional holiday treat. The sound of the rain on the Church roof added to the winter flavor of the event.

In addition to providing precise cues as conductor, Ms. Tubridy played orchestral accompaniments at the piano, sang often with the altos and even provided rhythmic support with a drum held under her left arm in the upbeat “Riu Riu Chiu.” Gael Reed and Jean Ashley were soloists in two works each.

Highlights for this reviewer were the intriguing dissonances and surprising modulations in Warlock’s “First Mercy,” “La Virgen Lava Panales” with a shimmering final note from Ms. Ashley, the jazzy syncopations in Luis de Victoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium” and the Shabbat HaMalka festive songs. Randy Barron sang and played the guitar in a long and touching ballade to holiday peace (“Christmas in the Trenches”) reflecting the abortive Christmas truce from 1914 on the Western Front.

Singers listed in the program, including some that read from texts or played guitar (Randy Barron, Dan Fein and Alby Kass) included sopranos Kathleen Dechant and Gael Reed; altos Jean Ashley, Kathrin Williams, Wallie Kass and Tomi VanBladen; tenors Tom Lowrie and Phil Tymon; and basses Bob Bulwa and Green Greenwald.