For anyone who has ever been to a Bluff Country Singers concert, Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spring Valley is enough. Everyone else, read on.
Why do so many area residents plan their holiday concert-going around the Bluff Country Singers date? It could be the delightful choice of old and new arrangements, one of the specialties of Elliott Grandall, conductor and long time music teacher. Or maybe the keyboard wizardry of pianist Suz Eberle. Perhaps it’s the pure joy of singing that bursts forth in the voices of the nearly 40 singers and soloists who have been rehearsing summer and fall to prepare for this third annual concert.
One thing is sure, this 2017 concert promises to satisfy two large audiences longing for tradition and yearning for variety. In the first set, a Christmas Fanfare incorporating “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” is followed by a whimsical “Little Drummer Boy” featuring both Suz Eberle and Sally Jeske at the keyboard. A medley of traditional carols followed with solos by Danial Hayes-Hall and Renee Lechner rounds out the traditional side of the concert.
More contemporary arrangements take over in the second choral set, featuring “The Little Cradle Rocks in Glory,” “All is Well,” and “Chistmas…In About Three Minutes.” Then an intermission during which a free will offering will be taken with proceeds going to purchase music for future Bluff Country Singer concerts. Lovers of pipe organ music will then thrill to a rendition of “Fum, Fum, Fum,” with David Grandall on the Our Savior’s pipe organ.
The third set promises to raise goose bumps starting with a Harry Simeone arrangement of the Percy Faith classic, “Christmas Is…,” followed by the surprisingly bluesy “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child.” If you’re not in the Christmas mood just yet, listen on through “Sing a Glad Noel!,” “Celtic Christmas Blessing” and then rise to the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “Handel’s Messiah,” with a brass quintet, hand bells, and pipe organ accompaniment for good measure.
This year’s Bluff Country Singers
• Soprano: Hisako Eppen, Pam Freet, Sally Jeske, Renee Lechner, Myrna Legried, Carl Lenz, Jenna Moon, Liz Newman, Darlene Popadak, and Gail Rollie.
• Alto: Loretta Ascheman, Deb Dahl, Amanda Geer, Karen Grandall, Annette Johnson, Sue Krahn, Julie Mlinar, Pam Nelson, Ellen Rollie, Carol Skare, Nancy Stender, and Audrey Farlinger
• Tenor: Marcy Capelle, Harlan Eickhoff, Jerry Klevan, Donnis Lassig, Jim Parker, Garry Post, Jake Stacken, Naomi Stukey, Skip Vogel, Myron Allen
• Bass: Jon Dahl, Kirby Johnson, Doc Lyon, John Martinka, Jeff Thauwald, Reese Wolf.
The Bluff Country Singers is devoted to performing music of all types with annual Christmas and spring concerts. The next spring concert will be performed April 22, 2018, with rehearsals beginning January 14. Area musicians interested in joining are invited to contact Elliott Grandall at (507) 346-7882.