Wes Cronk loves to sing.
What better group to do that with than the Kauai Chorale.
“When we sing, we tell a story,” said Cronk, president of the group. “We tell a story about the events of our life and how we feel about music, and we sing the oldies and the goodies.”
And being part of the 75-member strong organization is just flat fun, too.
“We like it because we have sense of belonging to something we all feel good about,” he said.
They’ll be feeling fine this weekend for the Chorale’s 50th anniversary gala, “One Enchanted Evening.”
It’s set for 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Joe’s on the Green in Poipu.
It will include live and silent auctions, appearances by soloists, duets, small groups and ensembles from the chorale itself, as well as music by Waiola from the past 50 years, soothing classical sounds of The Ali’I Strings, and an appearance by the Kauai High School Music Club. A no-host bar, drawings, and past Chorale directors will be there, too.
Other surprises will be on hand as well, said Cindy Griffin, Kauai Chorale spokeswoman.
“It’s going to be a really packed evening of entertainment,” she said.
Cronk called the gala a mid-term bash.
“We’re kind of celebrating amongst one another and patting each other on the back kind of thing, and letting the community come and share this with us,” said Cronk, a 10-year member.
Griffin joined a year ago.
“It’s definitely expanded my friendship ring here on the island,” she said.
The Chorale’s members range from 10 years old to over 80, and come from throughout the island. It’s a conglomeration of voices blending together, Griffin said.
“And a pretty good sound. It’s amazing,” she said.
The Chorale began in 1963 when Mel Gallagher got a group of singers together. They started as a small group of like-minded singers, meeting in his home in Kalaheo. They presented their first concert that year. Since then the chorale has had six directors, including Gallagher, Arnold Miester (who is singing with the chorale this semester), Gregg Shepherd, whose wife Virginia is the current accompanist, Jona Clark, Ross Hanna, and the current director, Lois Ricciardi, who celebrates her 25th year at the podium, another milestone in Chorale history.
The Chorale organized as a nonprofit group under Arnold Meister, and today is Kauai’s oldest and largest community chorus.
Members volunteer their time, committing to rehearsals for two hours every Monday night, occasional extra rehearsals, and lots of creative and musical talents that combine to create enjoyable concerts.
The music over the years has included serious choral works such as Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms, Handel’s “Messiah,” and Orff’s Carmina Burana, as well as works from Broadway musicals, movies, spirituals, folk tunes and oldies to modern music.
The chorale gives back to the community through appearances such as the “Lights on Rice Street” parade and festival, presentations at the Kauai Veterans Christmas Celebration, Kauai kupuna at Regency at Pua kea, as well as flash mob appearances and mini-concerts for events around the island, such as the Zonta “Eat Dessert First” fundraiser.
On Nov. 30, the chorale will offer the community a “sing-along” presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” at Lihue Parish Hall at no charge. Anyone can sing along, or just sit back and listen while the chorale and community members sing through the Christmas section and the famous “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The musical group has grown to over 100 members at times, and has a goal of growing to 200 singing members in coming years. Plans for the future include establishment of a scholarship fund for high school musicians, and continuing to grow and maintain a high quality of music, showmanship and entertainment to the people of Kauai.
The chorale still has a number of its original members singing with it, and adds new members every semester. There are no auditions required, and while a few members have formal musical training, it is not necessary to even be able to read music to join the chorale. The more experienced members are great at helping those with less training or experience find their way. All that is required is a love of singing.
Upcoming performances that will finish out this year will include the Nov. 30 “Messiah” sing-along, and two holiday concerts, one at KCC on Dec. 14, and a repeat performance at the St. Regis Hotel on Dec. 15. Membership will begin in January for the spring semester season.
Tickets for “One Enchanted Evening” are $50.
Info: KauaiChorale.com, email email@example.com or call 822-5633