When you attend a Kauai Chorale concert, you know the music will be terrific. You know the singing will be outstanding. You know the accompanist and the musicians will be excellent. And you know you’ll leave humming and smiling and looking forward to their next performance.
Sure enough, that’s how it went for the group’s spring concert Saturday at the Kauai Performing Arts Center and Sunday at the St. Regis Hotel Ball. “Music is Forever” was every good as one could expect. Nearly 80 powerful voices sharing the spotlight. They poured their hearts and soul into each and every tune, from the opening number, “Let There Be Music!” to “Oceans” to “Over the Rainbow” to the closing number, “Don’t let the Music Stop.”
Directed by Lois Ricciardi, these shows were bright, fun, lively and entertaining, 90 minutes of delightful songs, each with a twist to give it a sound and perspective unlike any versions before it. It never dragged. Never reached a point where you wondered if they were done. Just a crisp, engaging evening.
But it was the unexpected, perhaps what you might call the little things, that gave these performances a bit of magic.
Let’s start with the guys moving the chairs. You had to be there, but who would have ever thought three or four men setting up a few chairs and stands for musicians, or removing them for dancers between some songs, could gain such applause and become a fan favorite. Each time they rose, with some hints from Ricciardi (“Guys?”) the crowd chuckled. Great fun.
And then there was the dance. That’s right, the dance. Tim and Marsha Bradley were sure and light on their feet during their moves around the floor to “Sway.” It was simple, sweet and beautiful. And the kiss at the end, the stuff that makes even the coldest of hearts melt.
Speaking of dancing, the hula by Darlene Kaui to “Beautiful Kauai” was mesmerizing and Kaui got the curtain call she deserved.
And then, there was the good-bye to Derrick Vander Meulen, Kauai Chorale president, who is leaving the island. Derrick is also a Baptist pastor and he’s been called to a new church. He and his wife, Debbie were also soloists for “Beautiful Kauai.” Derrick has been a wonderful addition to Kauai, and he will be missed. He will bring smiles — and music — wherever he goes. The farewell he and Debbie received, along with the leis, was heartfelt.
Finally, kudos to Ricciardi. She’s the perfect director for Kauai Chorale. Genuine and joyful, her easy demeanor brings out the best of each singer and it’s easy to see they were having the best of times.
Yes, Let there be more music from Kauai Chorale. Lots.