Bountiful voices unite in song in choir debut

More than 90 human voices raised in song may garner the attention of even the abundant birds of spring.

Wica Conservatory Choir members Frank O’Brochta and Norman Walker sing out at rehearsal for “In A Yellow Wood.” At top

Wica Conservatory Choir members Frank O’Brochta and Norman Walker sing out at rehearsal for “In A Yellow Wood.” At top

More than 90 human voices raised in song may garner the attention of even the abundant birds of spring.

That’s the hope of the brand new WICA Conservatory Choir led by vocal coach Robert W. Prosch.

Prosch and his all-ages choir is busy polishing up the final touches to “In A Yellow Wood,” a compilation of music to be sung at a debut performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 15. The show will be performed at South Whidbey High School auditorium.

The program includes works by Randall Thompson (Frostiana), Jeffery Ames, William C. Powell, Cole Porter, Rene Clausen, John Rutter, David Dickau and Greg Gilpin.

The choir sprung from a group of performers who had worked with Prosch on the musical “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” which was produced by WICA in October 2008 and in which Prosch played the demanding role of Judge Turpin.

Having enjoyed the extraordinary vocal challenges of that experience, the group initiated the idea for a community choir led by the experienced Prosch.

Never in their wildest dreams did the WICA staff, who supported the idea and brought it to fruition, think more than 90 people would be consistently attending the weekly Monday night rehearsals.

“It is a delight to sing with people who give up their free time just for the joy of making music together,” choir member Paula S. B. Ludtke said.

“Rob is an intuitive, skilled and passionate director. He inspires us all to become better singers.”

Prosch, whose day job is principal at South Whidbey High School, is dedicated to creating a positive choral experience for both the performers and audiences.

Working with a community that historically contains an uncanny amount of artistic talent for its small size, he knew he would have to challenge and inspire the group who would expect a high level of musicianship.

He has not disappointed them.

“I have sung in many choirs over the years and this is my favorite,” Bev Durocher said.

“Not only is Rob Prosch excellent with music, he is as just as talented in working with people. He has also chosen great music for us to sing, and so it’s fun.”

The choir has attracted singers from all walks of life, of all levels of vocal range and skill and of varying ages with the youngest being 12 and the eldest being, well, the wisest.

This is exactly how Prosch envisioned it. He said he wants to reach out to all parts of the community and work together to produce something joyful.

Singer Mary McLeod said she is grateful to WICA for providing her this opportunity to sing in a local choir again with people she sang with 20 years ago in the Whidbey Island Chorale.

“It is fun singing songs from my past choir experiences in high school and college, as well as learning new choral music,” McLeod said.

Choir member Norma DeMerchant is equally as satisfied.

“I have found the experience to be wonderful,” she said.

Tickets range in price from $5 to $10, and are available by calling 221-8268 or 1-800- 638-7631.

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