Journey West With Music



As people left the East and moved West across the plains of Indiana and the rolling hills of Texas to the gold country of California, they sang.

"Westward Journey," the Payson Choral Society's spring concert showcases the rich history of music found in the West.


Ted Prince, Stan Langham and Tom Kelly get ready to take their audience on a journey west.

Performances are at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 28 in the Payson High School Auditorium.

"The selections not only include the typical "cowboy" songs, but also songs that describe the journey itself," said director Daria Mason.

The audience can look forward to the familiar and the unfamiliar.

"Home on the Range," "Shenandoah" and "Old Dan Tucker" are popular favorites everyone can relate to and enjoy.

At a glanceThe Payson Choral Society's spring concert "Westward Journey", directed by Daria Mason, with accompaniment by Victoria Harris, comes to the Payson High School auditorium Saturday, April 28.Performances are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for students ages 12 to 18, and free for children ages 11 and under. Tickets may be purchased in advance from Choral Society members, The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Roundup, and at the library. Tickets will also be available at the door before each concert.Proceeds from the concerts provide musical scholarships to middle school and high school students. These are awarded each year at the spring concert.

The men of the choir will sing a special arrangement of "Clementine."

The choir will perform a song written and arranged by their own Del Bohlmeyer, "Rim Country Wonderland."

"The other thing that makes this concert so special is a chance to hear our scholarship winners share their talents," Mason said.

Kalea Donaldson will sing "San Antonio Rose," Heidi Haworth will sing "Into the West," Kaitie Jones will sing "You Can't Get a Man Without A Gun," and Kit Buskirk will sing "Kansas City."

The lyrics, "anything you can do I can do better -- I can do anything better than you -- no you can't -- yes I can" will bounce between a choral society duo, Marianne Thoen and Ted Prince.

And, John Landino will solo on the Johnny Mercer ballad, telling the audience just what kind of cowhand he is and where he hails from.

The most interesting song to Mason, as a conductor, will perhaps be the most unfamiliar to the audience.

"Cloudburst" takes the choir and the audience on a vocal journey through a Southwest monsoon storm.

"Cloudburst" is based on a Native American poem "The Broken Water Jar," translated by Lysander Kank, said Landino.

"The composer, Eric Whitacre uses the harmonies, voices, language and instruments the same way a painter would use paints on a blank canvas," Mason said.

Mason must compel the chorus to use all of their vocal and dynamic skills to join in the painting.

"My eighth grade son, Kit, who is playing the wind chime part, after hearing the last rehearsal said ‘Interesting' and I think that sums this piece up," she said.

The women of the choir will sing the tale of a maiden who sets her cap for a certain young man as her husband. The name of the tune is "Johnny Said No."

"‘Johnny Said No' is full of interesting rhythms and a fun story that appealed to me, as I listened to it," Mason said.

A ladies' quintet from the choir will sing "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

Finding all the songs is a matter of Mason searching through archives, publishers' materials and attending reading sessions.

Mason invites, "Come on out, y'all!"

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