LIHUE — After nearly 30 years directing Kauai Chorale, it’s down to two performances for Lois Ricciardi: tonight and Saturday, both at the Kauai Aqua Beach Resort.
These shows are not to be missed, said Wes Cronk, Kauai Chorale president who is also leaving the group after 14 years.
“It’s going to be good,” he said.
Perhaps even spectacular if you want to brag. For sure, this will be music to remember.
“Anyone out there who wants to come to a musical presentation that will grip your heart the moment they hear it, it will warm you, it will lift you up,” Cronk said. “And the final closing songs that we’re singing. It will just speak to the heart.”
Kauai Chorale promises to deliver a performance everyone will enjoy, vowing to pay tribute to Ricciardi.
“It will be a beautiful expression,” Cronk said.
The spring shows are at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom of Aqua Kauai Beach Resort in Wailua.
Cronk and others say you don’t want to miss these performances of “Carmina Burana,” Carl Orff’s most famous choral work, and featuring accompaniments by KCC and other school instrumental ensembles.
“The piece has excited audiences around the world with its thrilling and constantly changing rhythms, dramatic, soaring solos, whimsical, mystical, and mischievous to serious moments,” a press release said. “It offers challenges for the performers, as well, and Kauai Chorale is delighted to present this quintessential piece of choral music.”
Kauai Chorale, under the direction of Ricciardi, and the KCC instrumental ensembles, under the baton of Sarah Tochiki, look forward to presenting a few surprises, too, including a musical tribute to “New York, New York” – their “theme song” this semester.
“When we come together, it’s just something else,” Cronk said.
Other songs they’ll be performing include “America the Beautiful,” “Let There Be Music,” and “You Raise Me Up.”
Nearly 50 chorale members will be headed off to The Big Apple to perform “Carmina Burana” at the Lincoln Center in New York on May 28.
Ricciardi will be watching, not directing, this time.
“It’s a pretty exciting and a wonderful way to end this many years of working with a wonderful group of people,” she said.
Yes, it’s a big deal.
Dr. Jonathan Griffith, artistic director and principal conductor for Distinguished Concerts International New York City, said: “The Kauai Chorale received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers as well as the high quality of their audition recording.
“It is quite an honor just to be invited to perform in New York,” he said. “These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community. This is an event of extreme pride for everybody and deserving of the community’s recognition and support.”
Christina Alderete, who is replacing Cronk as chorale president, sings with the group, as well. Her husband, John, and son, Ethan, play violin for them.
Without any formal vocal training, Alderete joined the chorale and had a wonderful time, finding it very welcoming.
“What’s great about this particular group is you can walk right in and if you love to sing, then you can come sing,” she said.
The Alderetes moved to Kauai about a year ago and Christina said she didn’t know what to expect regarding the music culture on the island.
She was pleasantly surprised to find an array of talent at many levels, from vocal groups to orchestras.
“Kauai has such endearing and quality levels of music,” Alderete said.
She urges people to attend Kauai Chorale’s final shows under Ricciardi.
“This is just an amazing opportunity to see the quality of singing, the quality of musicianship, the quality of music education here on the island that starts young,” Alderete said.
Cronk said Ricciardi “makes music fun.”
He described her as warm and personable, someone who accepts anyone and everyone. But she is also a taskmaster who insists on excellence and is not one for wasting time. Come prepared, be ready to work is her common directive.
“She is matter of fact, stands for what she believes in,” Cronk said.
The two have become good friends, he added, and Ricciardi will be missed, just as she will miss directing the chorale.
“It’s been her life,” Cronk said. “When she hears us sing, it’s part of her very framework.”
A new director has been found, but the name is not yet being officially released.
“The chorale is not stopping. It’s going forward,” he said.
Cronk, too, will miss being part of the chorale, which has become very close to him after all these years. It’s personal, too. A pastor, Cronk visits, cares for and prays for the group’s members.
“I love every one of them,” he said.
Tickets to this weekend’s shows can be purchased at Lappert’s Ice Cream in the Princeville Shopping Center and at Kukuiula Shopping Center; North Shore Pharmacy; Kauai Music and Sound and Pono Market; Scotty’s Music House; Kalaheo Cafe &Coffee Company; The Bookstore and Wrangler’s Restaurant.
They will also be available at the door or from any Kauai Chorale member. Student tickets are $5, regular adult tickets in advance are $12 and will be $15 at the door.