“Our goal as a choir has always been to present interesting, challenging and appealing music on our concerts,” Rob said. “Overall, I think we’ve been successful at meeting that goal. At times, I’ve stretched the singers’ ears a bit in throwing some unfamiliar works at them, but they have always (for the most part!) been willing to tackle whatever is put in front of them and give it their best shot.”
As with any new music organization, Engelson’s first task was finding music for the choir to perform.
“Fortunately, I had a built-in supply of music at the university, so that’s where the bulk of the music has come from,” Rob said. “Over the years, as our finances improved, we’ve been able to build a pretty good choral library of our own, while still drawing from university resources. In addition, Karl Wolf, choral director at Clinton High School, has always been very generous in loaning us pieces from his library.”
As a nod to its history, RiverChor’s concert will feature 12 of the 16 pieces that were sung on that first concert on April 25, 2004. In addition, the choir will sing four other “favorites” from past concerts that were voted on by the singers at their first rehearsal this past January.
“We have performed some of these ‘first pieces’ on subsequent concerts while others were only done on that first concert,” Engelson said. “It seemed appropriate to pay tribute to that first concert and to those brave souls who volunteered to take a leap of musical faith and be a part of something new.”
The choir has featured continuity in its membership over 10 years: of the original 26 singers, 10 are still with the group; 14 have been members since the choir’s second concert in November 2004; and at least half of the current membership has sung for at least five years. Christine Holmer, director of music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clinton, has been the choir’s accompanist since fall 2006.