My opinions are usually set to music, performed in "Lagunatics" each October. This one can't wait that long: "Impressive!"
Thursday night the Thurston Middle School and high school choruses performed their spring concert. It was impressive. Under the hand of vocal music teacher Roxanna Ward, the evening included a spectrum of choral, ensemble and solo music, most of which was written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, chosen in celebration of his 80th year. It was a brave, potentially insane choice. Sondheim is a notoriously difficult musical technician, and a combative lyric genius for storytelling.
It would have been impressive just to expose all those young people to such rich, complex material — or to hear it executed accurately. But to present nearly two hours of nuanced, beautifully accomplished performance? Sweet, tender moments — grand, thick chords — the stunning grasp of the material by so many young singers? Impressive. The match of material to talent was inspired, not the least of which was Ward herself at the piano. An established professional performer in her own right, Ward brought in others to give additional, focused direction to the students. Professional singers, directors, actors, came in at her request, volunteers sharing their proficiency with students perfectly primed to absorb instruction, direction and inspiration.