LOS CANTANTES’ SPRING CONCERT INTOXICATES RESPONSIVE AUDIENCE
Published: The Guadalajara Reporter
28 March 2014
Written by Emma Bergh-Apton
After a taste of their magical music being prepared in rehearsal, it came as no surprise that Los Cantantes’ “Nature’s Music” concerts at the Auditorio de la Ribera on Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26 were a resounding success.
A simple set of three rails containing multiple strips of pastel fabric, behind the choir, set off the black tuxedos and dresses worn with chiffon jackets in bright pink, purple and turquoise. Music Director Timothy G. Ruff Welch was on good form as he followed his choir on stage and introduced the program.
Accompanied by versatile pianist Eleanor Stromberg throughout, they opened with “Bless the Beasts and the Children” by DeVorzon and Botkin. This was followed by Nygard’s piece, “The Lamb,” accompanied by Stromberg with Mike Leisenbach on flute, which was exquisite. Next came Bernofsky’s “The Tiger” and the madrigal “The Silver Swan” by Gibbons.
Ehret’s toe-tapping folk song “The Sow Took the Measles” was great fun and Welch provided the essential dramatic sob at the end – informing the audience, to much laughter, that this was just one of his two “performances” that day!
Perry’s “Frog” and Gray’s “Crocodile” made way for Purifoy’s “Turtle Dove” with its exceptionally beautiful accompaniment, expertly played by Stromberg, before Don Beaudreault’s lovely solo, “In time of Silver Rain” by Dilworth closed the first half.
After intermission the sound was much clearer as the noisy air conditioning that stifled the music was turned off. The price was audience discomfort in the sweltering heat, but the superb harmony of Harline’s “When you Wish upon a Star,” was as clear as a bell, so was Whitacre’s magical “Seal Lullaby,” accompanied by Stromberg with Mariana Martínez on cello.
Porter’s “Night and Day” led to a breathtaking rendition of Johnson’s “The Water is Wide” featuring soloists Anne Roche (alto) and Diana O’Byrne (soprano) – the latter stepping in only 24 hours earlier, for Judy Roberts who was unwell.
Centerpiece of the entire concert was Henson’s “August Moonrise,” accompanied by Stromberg with Martínez on cello, which was superb. Stroop’s “The Pasture” was well done, but the performance of his “Omnia Sol” completely took my breath away and again had me groping for a hankie. That piece should carry a “hazard” notice!
Bigler’s “Turkey in the Straw” was lively and fun – culminating with Welch’s exuberant “Yee Hah.” When the show ended, with Bricusse’s “Fill the World with Love,” the audience was on its feet and the applause was deafening.
Welch left, returning moments later wearing a powder blue cassock with brightly colored hood. The encore, Tindley’s “The Storm is Passing Over,” was a lively gospel song and the audience thoroughly enjoyed clapping along with the rhythm.
Like many others, I could listen to that beautiful music for hours, so the only criticism would be that it was over all too soon. However, a shorter, free version of this concert will be performed on Friday, March 28, 7 p.m. at the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo, Álvaro Obregón 119, Plaza de Toros, Chapala. Not a religious gathering, it fulfills one of Los Cantantes’ objectives to share its music with the Mexican community.
Los Cantantes is always looking for new members aged from 13 to 99+. Email Tim Welch at tim@firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sopranos: Janice Carol, Lily Ehlebract, Teresa Jasper, Olga Kaplounenko, Cecilia Yael Leal Murillo, Jayme Littlejohn, Sheree Nuncio, Diana O’Byrne, Karen Procter, Judy Roberts, Jeanne Salmon, Amaranta Santos, Maria Roselia de la Cruz Urzua, Julie Webb and Marian Wellman.
Altos: Gale Bildfell, Kate Gunn, Mardele Harland, Doris Helmus, Judy Hendrick, Monique Jobidon, Kathy Koches, Eric Moisés Leal, Jutta McAdam, Anne Roche, Patteye Simpson and Belva Velázquez.
Tenors: Don Beaudreault, Tony Jackson, Clair Kuntz, Rodrigo Martín Leal Murillo, Barbara Pruitt, Juan Rivera, LeAnna Spear, Kitt Vincent and Patrick Waite.
Basses: Robert D. Croog, Joel Gómez, Lloyd Johnson, John Herbert Jones, Bob Koches, Chris Lane, Robert Martlew, Jim Parker, Hugo Ramos, Roy Thielking and James Velázquez.
TIMOTHY G. RUFF WELCH—The Man Behind the Smile
Published: Ojo del Lago;
Written by: Herbert W. Piekow
Recently a Guadalajara friend went to a concert at Teatro Degollado where his friend gave a voice recital sponsored by the Secretary of Culture of Jalisco. My friend, Juan Carlos, asked me if I knew the American accompanist with a big smile because the soprano told him that Timothy was the best accompanist she had ever sang with. Tim does have a large and earnest smile; I think of it as a stage smile, only his is not just for an audience; it is because he is genuinely happy accompanying talented people in public.
Most of us here at Lakeside already know about Timothy G. Ruff Welch, or Tim, as he is most commonly called; although there is nothing common about this talented musician and excellent choral director. But since he is such a busy man it can be difficult to know him personally so I invited Tim to coffee. He gave me three time slots for the month of October.
Tim grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, the eldest of three children. Besides the milk cows, his family commercially grew peas, corn and cabbages. Like all farm boys he competed state wide in 4H projects, where he won numerous Blue Ribbons.
“Almost everyone in my family played a musical instrument,” said Tim. Mostly they played popular and ethnic music. His parents let him begin piano lessons at the age of four; his first teacher was an aunt. His parents recognized his passion for music and made a bargain; if he practiced his music, he would be excused from farm chores.
He shared that as he grew up, his family never listened to classical music, and that his first exposure was when he was twelve and his grandmother took him to visit the Northern European countries, his ancestral roots. While in Helsinki, they went to the Temppeliaukio Church to hear an organ concert. “Never before had I heard such glorious music. It changed my life,” Tim said. Eventually he earned a Masters in Coaching and Accompanying in Cincinnati, at only one of three schools to offer such a degree at that time. His degree allowed him to accompany choirs and singers/instrumentalists and to go on world tours with his groups. “I got to live my two passions, music and travel,” he said.
For twenty years he worked hard in Chicago but like so many he reached a point where he needed to relax and do something for himself. Tim took out his map and blindly selected Guadalajara, a place he had never visited.
Over coffee we talked about his hectic schedule. During the year he will conduct or accompany fifteen to twenty concerts, which means hours of rehearsals, both for the individual soloist and for the entire ensemble or choir. He is the musician for Saint Andrews Anglican Church in Riberas, as well; he gives about twenty private voice and piano lessons per week. Whenever one of his students or talented friends needs an accompanist, he spends hours rehearsing with them, so that they are both perfect. It takes hours of working together to be synchronized, even when the music gives the tempo and the scale gives the pitch, there is so much more involved.
He feels so fortunate to be able to live his passion. I think his schedule would wear anyone else down, or drive them to drink. We talked about what he dreams of, and Tim divulged that he would love to have a quality boys’ choir. “There is talent here, but it takes time, commitment and funds to successfully put this together.”
Tim lived in Guadalajara for two years before coming to Lakeside; he now owns two homes, one here and one in the city because those commutes can be grueling. His wonderful Holiday Concerts are on almost everyone´s schedule and this year Los Cantantes del Lago will present a concert called Traditions — Christmas and Hanukkah, at the newly remodeled Auditorio de la Ribera on December 10 and 11. Tickets are available at Diane Pearl Colecciones, Mia’s Boutique or by writing email@example.com.
LOS CANTANTES GEAR UP FOR SPRING CONCERTS
Published: The Guadalajara Reporter
12 March 2010
Written by: Jeanne Chaussee
LOS CANTANTES DEL LAGO HAS BUILT UP A FINE REPUTATION FOR TOP-NOTCH SINGING AND ENTERTAINMENT
Lakeside’s own professionally directed 65-voice choir performs Saturday, March 20, 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 21, 4 p.m. in the Auditorio de la Ribera del Lago in La Floresta.
The program, directed by Timothy G. Ruff Welch with piano accompaniment by Eleanor Stromberg, reads like a “Who’s Who?” of music of the 20th century.
Audiences are sure to enjoy Jule Styne’s “People” from “Funny Girl,” Scott Joplin’s “We’re Goin’ Around” from “Treemonisha,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Three Little Maids from School Are We” from “The Mikado,” Meredith Wilson’s “Lida Rose” from “The Music Man” and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” among other great songs.
Soloists include Amarantha Santos, Marian Wellman, Patteye Simpson and Jack Wannamaker.
This concert will also feature the talents of dancers from the Ballet Folklorico del Ayntamineto de Chapala. The special choreography is courtesy of Alexis Hoff.
Los Cantantes del Lago is comprised of Mexicans, Canadians, Americans, Brits, Germans and other nationalities, ranging in age from 16 to over 80.
The choir has given concerts in Turkey, Greece, Ecuador, Central Mexico and other Mexican destinations. One of their stated aims is to take great live music to those who may have never heard it before.
Tickets are 200 pesos each and are on sale now through March 19 at the Tickets, Etc. booth at the Lake Chapala Society, from any member of Los Cantantes or from Jan Feise at 766-2691.
A cash bar will be open one hour before curtain.