Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The Columbia College Community Chorus, conducted by John Carter, will present its spring concert in two performances - at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Matthew Lutheran Church at 13880 Joshua Way east of Sonora.

Tickets are $10 ib advance or $12 at the door, children 12 and under $5. Advance tickets are available at Sonora Music, Mountain Bookshop, Manzanita Bookstore and Murphys Music Company or by calling 586-5965.

These mark the final concerts Carter will conduct for the chorus. He will be retiring from the college on May 2 after 30 years of teaching, including the chorus class.

"My feelings in conducting and leading this chorus are difficult to put into words," he said. "Simply put 'I have loved it.' We have grown a lot in our musical abilities and our impact in the community. And I appreciate all the work our wonderful chorus board, community singers and superb accompanists have done to make possible what we do. I also appreciate everything the college and community have done to support my efforts as well."

The weekend program will feature a variety of choral selections including Mozart's "Missa Brevis in F Major," accompanied by string orchestra, a chorus from Brahms' "A German Requiem," accompanied by piano duo Diane Day and Dorothy Woodford Arndt, a chorus from Haydn's "Creation," a selection from the "Vespers" by Rachmaninoff, three folk songs arranged by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, and a closing medley from the hit musical "The Music Man."

Featured guests will be the seven-voice a cappella group Sincerely, performing two popular songs from the 1960s.

"The 'Missa Brevis,' written by Mozart when he was only 18, is one of his most delightful pieces in this form," Carter said. "Full of youthful imagination and creativity, the 20-minute piece displays a delightful string orchestra accompaniment and beautiful choral writing."

Soloists, interspersed throughout the work, will be Marguerite Close, Linda Carter, Diane Wright, Kathie Rudolph, Diana Eppler, Carl Rudolph, Jackson Israel, Chuck Maxson, Gary Gober and Dillon Nelson.

The excerpt from Brahms is "Blessed They," the first chorus from his "German Requiem," and features his arrangement of the orchestra parts for piano duet. This arrangement was the accompaniment to the first performance in England when an orchestra was not available.

"Diane Day, accompanist for the chorus and Dorothy Woodford Arndt, former accompanist, are both wonderful musicians," Carter said. "It will be a treat to have them paired together."

Internationally-known choral conductor Robert Shaw and composer Alice Parker formed a musical partnership in the early 1950s when he was conducting his world-famous Robert Shaw Chorale. Together they arranged more than 200 folk and popular melodies drawn from sources as diverse as Negro spirituals and American drinking songs in some of the most creative and artistic of musical compositions, Carter said.

The chorus will present three of these, among them "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Ride on King Jesus."

"The Music Man" by Meredith Willson is one of the great musicals of all time. Winning a Tony Award for best musical, running for a total of 1,375 performances on its initial opening on Broadway and having three revivals, it has a long history of inspiring audiences with its music.

"It is one of my favorite musicals - not only for its charming turn-of-the-century setting but also for its wonderful melodies and for Meredith Willson's incredible creativity in combining and adapting melodies to play off of each other," Carter said.

The local a cappella group Sincerely has been becoming more visible as they entertain audiences here in the Central Sierra. Members, all of who are or have been members of the chorus, include Pirkko Dyer, Janet Telford, Diane Wright, Jan Ruff, Sheri Betz, Ralph Retherford and Craig Mineweaser.