The Commonwealth Chorale of Virginia

"Cultural Jewel in the Heart of Virginia"

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Rondi's Voices

Posted on April 19, 2015 at 3:35 PM

Our children's chorale, Rondi's Voices, is named for Rondi Arlton.  Rondi was a member and strong supporter of The Commonwealth Chorale as well as a member of the College Presbyterian Church choir.  She led the youth ministry at College church for many years and performed traditional music with the Arltones at College Church.  We are honored that her musical legacy continues as we welcome the children's contribution to the chorale.  The singers, ages 6-12, are directed by Chris Prengaman.  They will be accompanied by Michael Lazarski on guitar in their upcoming "Appalachian Songs."  We look forward to their participation in many of our future performances.

The Commonwealth Chorale lost a long-time friend, supporter, and Advisory Board member with the passing of Dr. James B. Erb on November 11, 2014.  Dr. Erb taught music for 39 years at the University of Richmond and was founding director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus.  His enthusiasm and passion for musical excellence influenced several generations of choral singers in the Richmond area and beyond.  Perhaps the best known of his compositions is his eight-part arrangement of "Shenandoah", which is sung all over the world.

We have several new members this year:  Maxine Hollinger, our pianist;  Paul Robelen, one of our tenor soloists;  Peggy Kelsey, soprano; Linda Moore, soprano;  and Joel Langner, tenor.  New singers are always welcome, in keeping with our mission of being a true community chorale.

Our fall/winter season concluded after two successful performances of Johann Sebastian Bach's glorious "Christmas Oratorio", which was sung at Memorial United Methodist Church in Appomattox and United Methodist Church of Farmville.  Members of the children's choir joined the adult members in this beautiful work, which recounts the story of Christ's birth as it appears in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.  The format of "Christmas Oratorio" is that of a festive cantata, rather than a true oratorio, combining an Evangelist who narrates the story, with recitatives, arias, and chorales which were readily recognizable as hymn tunes by the people of Bach's day. The work was completed by Bach around Christmas time of 1734.

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