A Summer Singers Success!

The Sixth Annual Michael O’Neal Summer Singers performed Salute to America to a large and enthusiastic audience yesterday afternoon.  The chorus of 150 non-auditioned, volunteer singers presented a polished, energetic, and completely captivating performance of The Testament of Freedom (Music: Randall Thompson; Words: Thomas Jefferson), Song of Democracy (Music: Howard Hanson; Words: Walt Whitman), and arrangements of America, the Beautiful, God Bless America, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Rounding out the concert was a two person version of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever on the mighty Moller organ of Roswell UMC.  The two persons performing that showstopper were Tom Alderman and Allen Baston.  Tom also serves as the principal accompanist of MOS and provided phenomenal organ transcriptions of the Thompson and Hanson pieces.  If there is an organist anywhere who could have performed this music more magnificently, I have not met him or her!

Our Summer Singers chorus (MOSS) is always a joy to conduct, but this summer was a special treat.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a MOSS more dedicated and involved than this one.  With six Monday evening rehearsals spread out over two months, it was imperative that the singers work on their own between rehearsals if they expected to perform their best.  It was clear to me that these chorus members took their personal and collective responsibilities very seriously, for they sang a concert I will remember for years to come!  Thanks to all who sang and all who attended.  Aren’t we lucky to have choral music in our lives?

Showing 5 comments
  • Charlie Mathers

    I believe it was (and is) this particular music that lifted the Michael O’Neal Summer Singers to perform our very best! The words and ideas of Thomas Jefferson and Walt Whitman are so profound, they literally demanded our all. Indeed the concept of the United States as the ultimate bastion of democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world resonated throughout all the pieces we sang. The past two hundred years have been a continuous history of tyrants and despots trying to deny the truth of “The God who gave us life gave us liberty!”, but we have prevailed in preserving Mr. Jefferson’s faith in us. Thank you, Dr. O’Neal for leading us in expressing that one more time.

  • Phyllis Bearden

    Let me tell you what a wonderful experience it was to be in this summer chorus. It’s my 3rd year,and I’ve enjoyed every concert, but this one was special. My son, who just returned fromd eployment supporting troops in Afghanistan, was in the audience; and everything came together in an emotional moment. I felt like we were all singing in a true voice and communicating through your direction and Tom’s playing all the wonderful words we sang. Thank you and all MOS for the most meaningful event of my summer.

  • Allan Kennedy

    I also think the concert went very well! Thanks Michael for reminding us that it is not only the music that moves us but that the words are such an important part of the musical message. The audience was so appreciative of the program. I don’t recall another MOSS audience that reacted to the music with so much emotion. It was a wonderful afternoon!

  • Sandra Prew

    This is my 5th season with the MOSS and truly each season has been special in its own way. The first year I’ll always remember because we performed Faure’s Requiem. What a great way to start!

    This year’s music was of particular significance to me on multiple levels. I have been writing a political blog for several years and upon opening Testament of Freedom for the first time, the words virtually jumped off the pages into my heart … into my being.

    At this time in our country’s history, remembering and celebrating what made us a great nation is vital. During the performance I found myself close to tears … most especially when we were singing “Liberty … Life!” Forget it!

    Thank you for bringing this music to us … what a grand and glorious gift.

  • Greg Picciano

    This is the first time I have a chance to sit down and add a comment to your blog Michael.I hit the ground running on Monday morning with my radio work and it
    hasn’t slowed down until about right now.I walk in several musical worlds as I work for two radio stations that play country and greatest hits(classics) plus I am banging out the current hits on the dance floor at a local East Cobb night club and I personally love to listen to some lite jazz from time to time so the Watercolors station on XM is my oasis for that genre.But whenever I sing a concert like we all did on Sunday most of the time the music will gradually fade away and the words sometimes go even faster but with the programming of Sunday’s concert the text is still fresh in my head and one has to come to the conclusion that what both Mr.Jefferson(and that’s what they call him if you ever travel to Monticello) and Walt Whitman wrote are the real foundation of our concept of freedom in this country.We must never lose sight of that first 4th of July and how truly brave our founding forefathers were to all sign the Declaration Of Independence on that very hot day in
    Philadelphia!

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