Such Love’ Raises Spirited Praise

  • Image 1 of 3

  • Image 2 of 3

  • Image 3 of 3

Musical Tribute Blends Talents into Harmony

By Teresa LeGault
Three hundred joyful people packed the Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church on the evening of Sunday, April 7.
Generous praise was earned by Allie Jo Thomas and Valentina Katkov for bringing numerous composers, solo vocalists and the voices of the Easter Chorus together from our many local churches to perform “Such Love,” an original cantata that was created and performed by over 35 members of the Mountain Community.

The audience was treated to twenty original songs to share the story of Jesus, the cross and the Resurrection, written by talented members of the community and produced by Katkov with Thomas.

The songs were ably woven together by narrators Louise Fox and Frank Haider, along with Gaelen Wilde as an angel.
Pianist Michelle Rose’s “Awakened” set the tone of excellence for the evening with Christi Rose on the harp. There were seven compositions by Valentina Katkov, three by Michelle Rose, two by Richard Kaschak, Walt Ryba, Allie Jo Thomas, two by Laurie Bierman and one each by Richard Kaschak, Walt Ryba, Mark Perry, Anne Alexander and Laurel Grisbach.

Each of these songs were melodic discoveries with lyrics that created clear pictures and communicated the essence of each episode of the Easter story. Conductor Allie Jo Thomas kept the chorus tight and coordinated. The flow of performers was well-rehearsed.

It will always be the soloists that make or break a musical. The vocals of Mark Perry, Charles Fox and Walt Ryba had a nice variation in their sounds and styles. Kudos to singers Kim Snover, Laurel Grisbach, Jessica Pilgram, Jessica Ryan, the haunting low notes of Laurie Bierman and the folksie duet by Valentina Katkov and Brianna Reece in “Such Love.”
Anne Alexander’s song “Love Has Risen (This Is Love)” should be on Christian radio tomorrow.

The upbeat gospel closer “I Believe” by Allie Jo Thomas had everyone on their feet in an exultant moment of celebration that rocked the Lutheran church.

The musicians were multitasking talents, but Clint Van Hooser on drums and effects has to be applauded along with the touches of violin by Wendy Bricht Bogdanoff.

Shepherd of the Mountains’ Pastor Richard Shields has to be thanked for hosting this production and welcoming all churches with humor and clear communication of the faith. There were big smiles from all who attended, and—I believe—most certainly from above.

—Written and reported by Teresa LeGault

This is part of the April 12, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.