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Spirits were lifted listening to the Chippewa Valley Community Chorus plus the Youth and the Stand in the Light choirs at the Heyde Center for the Performing Arts last weekend.

Led by Cathy Reitz and accompanied by Anne Kubiatowicz, we were transported in music and poetry from Lent and snowy landscapes to the wonderful world of Mother Earth below and warm blue skies above. The mixture of both familiar and unfamiliar but graceful and inspirational songs, from The Star Spangled Banner to Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in The Wind” included “Look at the World” and “It’s Music” by our own composer and lyricist Jerry Way.

Sixty cultured adult voices sang eloquently 14 songs with the assistance of the Children’s and Stand in The Light choirs on two of the selections. “Ring Out Wild Bells,” Tennyson’s poem of renewal reflected in the lines “ring in love and truth and right” and “ring out the darkness of the land,” plus the lines in Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem “Mother Mary come and carry us, that our sorrows may be faced” set the theme of the concert — renewal, both personal and globally.

John Rutter’s phrase in “Look at The World,” “Praise to thee O lord of all creation” added words of thanksgiving. Then Irving Berlin’s music set to the haunting words of Emma Lazarus raised the tone of the concert even higher, reciting and singing the New Colossus, reminding us of “the wretched refuse of our teeming shores” past and present. Earlier in the concert Teri Tompkins led the choir in Dolly Parton’s “Light in a Clear Blue Morning,” reaching high for the blue, not the blues “cause everything’s gonna be all right.”

Paul Tobiason with guitar and voice, substituting for Louis Armstrong, joined robustly by the choir saw “trees of green and roses too. Yes, I think to myself, What a Wonderful World.” The Irish Blessing, with a nod to St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday, closed the concert sending us home singing on a rising road, in the palm of His hand, until we meet again — at the Heyde!

Thomas Chisholm is a retired physician and a patron of the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls.

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