Spring Pops at Squaw
Music brings joy.
“We are really a celebration,” said Chris Nelson, a founder and a co-director of the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus of Sierra College, which began in 2002 in part to bring the art of choral music to the Truckee school system.
The celebration, being presented Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 at the Resort of Squaw Creek in Squaw Valley, is called “Pops Potpourri.” Along with the Diablo Valley College Philharmonic Orchestra from Pleasant Hill, Calif., led by Dr. Owen J. Lee, the TTCC will be directed by Nelson, Susan Horst and Tom Accord.
Potpourri in the English translation means a diversity of items to create a French potpourri of fragrant smells the collection of flowers and herbs began in the spring.
TTCC’s spring concerts will feature both for the enjoyment by attendees of any age and all musical genres.
Humor will be ripe, flavorful and lighter in fare, according to Nelson, as the chorus tosses words such as “fortissimo” with other music terminology to create a zesty “Italian salad.”
“The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Syncopated Clock” can introduce young patrons to orchestral music. The latter, written by Leroy Anderson during World War II, has been a staple of the Boston Pops since Anderson wrote it for the august musical group.
“If it is presented right, children will always respect music,” said Horst. The third-generation Alaskan with a master’s degree in choral conducting, has taught students from kindergarten age through college and been involved with the group for the past five years.
She acknowledged not only the young or the even just the audience benefits.
“The best part of belonging to TTCC is the joy of people being involved with things bigger than themselves.”
There is a synergy as members, ranging from their late teens to the 70s, discover different aspects of themselves by the music offered.
Even those with decades of professional singing and conducting experience, like Tom Accord, can still find challenges.
The Texas native spent decades on stages, in sound studios and orchestra pits throughout this country, Europe and South America. After retiring as a member of the faculty at California State University at Hayward he and his family moved to Lake Tahoe.
Upon meeting Chris Nelson and being impressed with the musicianship the latter displayed Accord joined TTCC.
“It was a natural fit,” he said.
For the spring concerts he will perform “(Ya Got) Trouble” from Meredith Willson’s beloved mid-20th century musical “The Music Man.” Singing the trials faced by a city that allows a pool hall to tempt its young people has not been easy.
“It is one of the most difficult things I have performed,” he said with a laugh.
For the tenor who counts Rodolfo from “La Boehme” and “La Traviata’s” Alfredo among his favorite operatic roles it is the song’s most spoken complicated rhythms that adds complexity.
Also included will be Offenbach’s gossipy “Neighbors’ Chorus.” Rounding up the renewal of spring is a host of more Broadway show tunes by luminaries of the 20th century including Jerome Kern and Leonard Bernstein to Stephen Sondheim. Other soloists include sopranos Pamela Moutinho, Meghan Powers, Tom Rinne, a tenor, and bass Michael Holley.
The talents and dedication of the TTCC when appreciated by the audiences from across the Lake Tahoe Basin creates something special.
“It makes a happy and joyous experience,” Horst said.