Yet Another Well-Kept Chattanooga State Secret

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - by Tom Hammett
It has been quite a while since I have worked directly with Maestro Darrin Hassevoort, but in every instance, his work has been solid and respectable. Tuesday night’s Masterworks concert was no exception.

The Concert Choir is an excellent ensemble of some 28 singers, accompanied on piano by Janelle McDonald. Following a golden rule of concert programming, Hassevoort held the performance to just under one hour. I was taught that if a concert goes over one hour, you should give away a car as a door prize.

The first portion of the concert presented three choral selections from standard literature including Barber, Brahms and Gawthrop. The choir produces a remarkable balance with a rich choral tone. Their diction is unusually clean, and Hassevoort’s conducting is quite masterful. Their excellent choral techniques help to create lovely and effective interpretation.

An extra treat on the program was the professional piano quintet. Familiar musicians including Concert Master: Mark Reneau, Violin: Sheri Peck, Viola: Laurie Redmer Minner, Cello: Eric Reed, and Piano: Alan Nichols made up an exquisite instrumental ensemble. The viola was particularly expressive and musical during the Elgar number.

Hassevoort programmed a new composer to my ear this evening. Two works by Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978) highlighted the best of the choir’s abilities. The choir was infused with resilient energy within the context of a warm and charming ambiance. The piano quintet served not only as a handsomely balanced accompaniment, but as an integral part of the music.

I observed two additional qualities during the evening. First, the Chattanooga State Choral Department is in excellent hands under the direction of Darrin Hassevoort. With the passing and retirement of many of the giants of the last generation of conductors, one might wonder about the future of quality music in our culture. Hassevoort helps assuage any anxiety concerning musical leadership and quality education of young musicians. Second, young composers such as Ola Gjeilo assure the solidity of high-quality, serious composition for vocal and instrumental ensembles for many years to come.  

I was pleasantly surprised once again by the outstandingly collegiate sound of the Chattanooga State Community College Music Department Concert Choir and instrumental quintet. Their robust maturity allows them to hold their own with commanding assurance in our cultural community.

Morning Pointe Announces Sponsorship For East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra's 12th Annual Independence Day Concert

The East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra announces Morning Pointe Senior Living as a “Maestro Level Sponsor” for the 12th annual Independence Day Concert and City of Collegedale’s Fireworks Celebration. The event takes place Monday, July 3, along the Greenway Path at The Veterans Memorial Park of Collegedale (located near the Collegedale City Hall Building and The Collegedale Public ... (click for more)

STRFKR Plays At Track 29 June 14

STRFKR will perform at Track 29 on Wednesday, June 14.   Review for STRFKR: Volume 2 of their three part Vault Series is out July 7 on Polyvinyl Records. Salvaged from the hard drive of a dying laptop, the 64 tracks that make up STRFKR’s three volume Vault series are completely unreleased material never before shared outside of the band. Ranging from fragmental ... (click for more)

Reworked Miller Park, Connections To Cost Up To $8.4 Million

A reworked Miller Park with improved connections to Patten Parkway and MLK Boulevard will cost $7.6 million. With contingencies, the price tag is tabbed at $8.4 million. The city only had two bidders on the major downtown project. Thomas Brothers Construction had the low bid of $7,637,413. Dillard Construction was just behind at $7,768,113. The city lists the "total project ... (click for more)

Dionne Upton Named New Principal At Woodmore Elementary School

Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly announced Friday the appointment of Dionne Upton to serve as principal at Woodmore Elementary School. Ms. Upton has 21 years of experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal.  Along with her various educational experiences, she has also participated in the Leadership Fellows ... (click for more)

Scrutinizing Defense And Other Public Spending Is Right Thing To Do

I saw in the news today where U.S. senators were investigating and scrutinizing an Army "debacle," which has already spent $6 billion on a communications system developed by a defense contractor (WIN-T) that is virtually ineffective in use.   This is on top of a recent Navy scandal (Fat Leonard Scandal) where several current and former Navy admirals were sentenced to prison ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Suicide Letter

Two weeks ago there were five suicides and a fatal drug overdose in the same Chattanooga community. That absolutely tears me up inside because I am assured almost every day there is a better answer. I make no secret I struggle with depression and it is real. I want others to see if I can get through the valleys to climb the mountain, they can too. I take medicine every day that ... (click for more)