Monday, April 22, the Morgan Community Choir held its 15th Annual Spring Concert. The choir took center stage in their matching blue dresses, cummerbunds and bow ties. Milan Mecham narrated the program as Lois Manning directed the choir.
The group has prepared for this concert every Wednesday since January for two hours. The 12-song presentation consisted of six songs new to the choir and six songs they have performed previously. This is Manning’s favorite balance for the group. The choir has accumulated a good sized library of music from which Manning aims to choose songs that are both beautiful and meaningful.
Not all of the songs had a serious message. “When I was Single” was 15-year-old Josh Christensen’s favorite song of the evening. The teen came to watch his mom and the other choir members. He particularly enjoyed the comedic number. “It looked like the people were having fun,” he said. The audience chuckled during the number and kept talking about it long after the performance.
During brief descriptions and stories before each song, audience members learned of a boy who was disobedient and constantly in trouble. During extreme circumstances where a ship nearly capsized, the boy changed his life and grew to be one of the most renowned composers, eventually penning “Amazing Grace.”
“I like to sing,” stated Jay Garfield, who has been with the choir for 14 years. “I like to perform as long as it is entertaining to the people that are there.”
Several members have been with Lois since the first concert in 1999 including Sandy Carter, Sylvia Lyon, Deanna Mecham, Elaine Thompson, Steve Carrigan, Leland Manning and Dan Thomson. Since that time members have come and gone, building on a legacy of talent in the Morgan Community Choir.
Ferren and Ruth Kirk have been regulars at the Morgan Community Concerts. “We always like to come,” Ruth said as she talked about her friendship with Director Lois Manning. The Kirks agree the concerts always make for an enjoyable night to spend with family.
Jeff and Amy Ward brought their family to enjoy the concert. Amy says she has been inspired by such a tremendous choir, especially Lois Manning’s abilities as a director. While Amy feels she lacks in singing abilities, she thoroughly enjoys music. Because of the success of the community choir, she has created a community orchestra and hopes that it will develop into something the community enjoys as much as the choir.
While the Kirks and the Wards didn’t have to travel far to hear the talented choir, some of the audience did, particularly Kathy Elmer. Elmer lives in Woods Cross and found out about the choir from her son Phil Elmer, who moved to Morgan two years ago. She has attended many of the concerts over the last few years. “They do such a good job,” Elmer stated.
Aimee Ferrin prompted cheers from the audience for her skills on the piano augmenting the choir’s talent. It was apparent at the end of the evening when given flowers and accolades that Ferrin prefers to be part of the group and not singled out. However the group finds her “an inspiration to the whole choir.”
The choir is always looking for more members. The only qualification to join us to enjoy singing in a choir. No auditions necessary.
“They don’t have to be that good of singer because we teach each other,” Manning said.
Jodi Hansen enjoys being part of the choir because it not only gives her an opportunity to sing but she also enjoys learning from Manning. Hansen never had formal training and feels she benefits from Manning’s voice lessons.
While Manning says she has never been a vocal teacher, she has plenty experience in all things choir related. She sang with the Ogden Community Choir for 18 years as well as the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir for an additional 18 years. She graduated from Brigham Young University in music and has learned many hints and vocal techniques to help the choir members.