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.

Lee To Host Faculty Brass Concert

Lee University faculty members Drs. Gordon James, Bill Pritchard, Doug Warner, and Nathan Warner, along with Lee student Matt Kelly, will present a brass concert on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Lee Chapel.  The evening will feature a variety of Christmastide selections and will invite all in attendance to participate in a carol sing-a-long.  As principal horn of the ... (click for more)

Courtney Holder And Mark Kelly Hall To Play At Puckett's On Friday, Roger Alan Wade On Saturday

Courtney Holder and  Mark Kelly Hall, both singer/songwriters from the Chattanooga area, will bring the Nashville experience to Puckett’s Chattanooga on  Friday . Starting at  9 p.m ., the two will performing their original songs along with a few familiar tunes in an all-acoustic writers round format made popular at well-known venues in Music City. Admission ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At McKee Bakery Plant 2; Damage Listed At $15,000Propane Tanks Were Near Blaze

Fire broke out at a McKee Food plant at Collegedale on Saturday night. At 6:45 p.m. , an employee at McKee Foods called 911 call reporting a fire at McKee Foods Plant 2 located at 10260 McKee Dr. Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived on the scene reporting flames 15 feet high at one end of the building of Plant 2. According to fire officials, ... (click for more)

City Council To Consider Policy That Job Applicants Would Not Have To Reveal Criminal Records

The City Council on Tuesday night will consider a policy that city job applicants would not have to reveal their criminal past. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem cited problems those with felony records have in securing employment. The policy would go into effect by the first of the year. The resolution says: WHEREAS, the City of Chattanooga (the "City") is committed ... (click for more)

Lung Cancer, The Deadliest Cancer In The United States

This time of year, I remember to give thanks for my faith, my family and friends and my health. Recently, I learned that lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the United States; in fact, more Americans die each year from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. It’s important to learn about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)