Hallelujah Gospel Choir
It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas as the Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus rehearses for two holiday concerts to be performed in collaboration with dancers from the Footlight Dance Centre. The 26-member chorus will sing a medley of Broadway Christmas tunes, including “We Need a Little Christmas” from “Mame, ” “Toyland, ” the title song from “Babes in Toyland, ” “Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music, ” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”
The chorus will also sing a selection of carols, including “The First Noel” and “Carol of the Bells, ” and, of course, some gospel songs, including, “Go Tell It on the Mountain, ” “Amen” and “Be Grateful.” The concert will conclude with “Total Praise, ” which Patty Parsons, the founder and director of the chorus, calls “our signature piece.”
“It’s everybody’s favorite and we end all of our concerts with it, ” she said.
The chorus will be accompanied by Bill Tewson on piano, Brad Hershey on bass and Sean Jackson on keyboards.
The first concert will be on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Wood River Performing Arts Theater in Hailey. On Monday, Dec. 21, the choir will sing at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum at 7 p.m. Both concerts are free and open to the public.
“I don’t feel right charging admission, ” Parsons said. “It’s a gift.”
The Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus was started five years ago by Parsons, the daughter of a Methodist minister, whose parents both sang in a gospel quartet and a bluegrass band when she was growing up in West Virginia.
“My parents sang gospel music to us. My uncle played the banjo and was the best banjo player I have ever heard, ” she said.
After college, Parsons got a master’s degree in vocal and choral technique at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. While there, she sang with the acclaimed SMU Choir under its famous choral director, Lloyd Pfautsch. An obituary in the Dallas Morning News published in October 2003 referred to him as “[o]ne of the country’s most respected university choral conductors and teachers for half a century.”
“Mr. Pfautsch’s students have gone on to positions as choral directors in churches, colleges and universities around the world, ” the obituary stated.