Making a Joyful Noise
The Wednesday Morning Musicales Chorus will be the opening act of almost a week of Laurel Festival concerts. The chorus, from the organization of the same name, and one of Wellsboro’s oldest organizations, contains both men and women—soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—who are able to rehearse together on a Wednesday morning. They will be performing at the Wellsboro United Methodist Church, at the corner of Main and Queen Streets, Sunday, June 12th, at 7 p.m.
Diana Frazier will direct the group, accompanied by Marian Miller, and Kate Means accompanying some music on flute. They are Wellsboro residents all.
Also headlining the evening will be two Barbershop quartets: an eight-numbered, double-quartet of women called Beauty Shop 4 and More, and a fairly new four-man quartet from the Wellsboro Men’s Chorus, called A Work in Progress. Each will perform three numbers and one piece together, forming a triple quartet.
Some of the numbers the chorus will sing are: “We Are the Music Makers,” “Joy in the Morning,” “Battle of Jericho,” and a medley of American patriotic songs in honor of the upcoming Flag Day.
For many years this organization was a women-only group—and musicians-only, but in the past decade Wednesday Morning Musicales has welcomed men into the organization. The only requirement now is the enjoyment of music. And the group discovered they really enjoyed having a larger audience, too.
What could be more perfect than an evening sitting on the Town Green in a folding chair or on a blanket, listening to the local town band, with the soothing sound of water from the Wynken, Blynken, and Nod statue nearby? You don’t have an answer, do you? And what a way, on Wednesday, June 15th, at 7 p.m., to start the summer!
Every year our town band meets, rehearses, and gives four summer concerts on the town Green. Does it sound like a rollback in time? Not to folks in Wellsboro! Over the years, the band is called together by the director, who sends out the word. Not much coaxing is needed. Those who play band instruments love the chance of coming together again to make exciting sounds and share their talents.
Director Adam Brennan, a professor of music at Mansfield University, “takes on” this wonderfully live and breathing organism, while its many members appear to enjoy being whipped into shape for each ensuing concert.
Who are his dazzling musicians? Why, they’re music students from high school and college, extraordinary ordinary people living in our community—teachers, parents, grandparents, professional musicians, and seniors enjoying their time connecting with others.
Of course, if you’re a groupie, you’ll know the band calls itself, “The Almost World Famous Wellsboro Town Band”—a name given by one of its original players, way back “when.” You’ll also know the band gives out scholarships to deserving music students.
You can expect to hear sounds to transport you someplace else, sounds to let you sit deeper and more relaxed in your chair, and sounds to make you want to get up and march down the street. You’ll definitely be foot tapping and hand clapping by the end of the concert. Even though the band plays a variety of band music, expect now and then to have a surprise number from this talented group.
Should some rain come your way, the First Baptist Church on the corner will save the day—everyone will be invited inside!
For a number of years the Laurel Festival committee supported and planned a week of evening concerts preceding the festival’s large weekend of culminating events. These concerts involved local soloists and/or groups of varying types of music performing mostly for the local community. Wellsboro and the local county have been blessed with a large amount of interest in the arts and the many musical groups flourishing in the area.
One of the holdovers from this not too ancient past is the Thursday night concert held in Wellsboro’s First Presbyterian Church, 131 Main Street, this year on June 16 at 7 p.m. For more years than most of us can recall, the evening has been headlined by The Wellsboro Women’s and the Wellsboro Men’s Choruses. Both groups bring together about seventy voices of divergent ages, careers, likes, family members, and musical abilities—all because of their love of music, gift of song, and connectedness to each other.
Both groups recently and successfully completed the spring concert With a Song in Our Hearts at the Wellsboro Methodist Church to a full capacity audience. It was reported that both the men and women sang “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better”—and that they broke the record of the longest held note ever. It’s also rumored they will try to break their record again during Laurel Festival Week. But who will do it—the men or the women? And who will do it better, higher, lower?
How can groups like this be successful for so many years? There is no one answer, but rather a number of them: everyone involved loves what they do; they have long-committed directors and accompanists; and they have a wonderful and receptive community to support them. Directing the women will be Diana Frazier accompanied by Judy Smithgall. Directing the men will be Don Schauer, accompanied by me (Pat Davis).
Included in the women’s numbers will be “Get On Your Feet,” “Thankful,” “It’s My Party,” selections from My Fair Lady, and some inspirational, patriotic, and fun numbers. Some of the men’s numbers will include “Yakety Yak,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Lord Listen To Your Children,” “Pie Jesu,” and other songs in their repertoire. Would you like to see an entire group of men performing together on a musical instrument? They will be, at this concert.
While each group enjoys their autonomy, they really enjoy the camaraderie of joining together to finish their evening’s music making. Chances are, the entire audience will join them in a final song. We bet you’ll leave the place with a lighter step and a song in your heart.