Singing Men welcome spring with music
Wendell Borrink directs the Singing Men of Oak Brook.
Singing Men of Oak Brook
With special guest Joel Raney
Christ Church of Oak Brook, 31st Street and York Road, Oak Brook
2:30 p.m. April 22
(630) 968-6468, www.thesingingmenob.org, or at the door
Updated: April 17, 2012 9:17PM
Like lilacs and April showers, a performance by the Singing Men of Oak Brook is an annual rite of spring. And like spring itself, the concert comes a bit early this year.
Typically scheduled somewhere closer to Mother’s Day, Director Wendell Borrink of Oak Brook said he hopes the earlier day, and the lower ticket price, will help to draw a crowd to the April 22 concert.
“We’re really wanting people to come out in large numbers to hear wonderful music,” Borrink said.
As with every Singing Men performance, this year’s spring concert will welcome a featured guest artist.
“He’s just a wonderful pianist,” Borrink said of Joel Raney, who will perform with the Singing Men.
Raney, who serves as minister of music at First Baptist Church in Oak Park, also is a prolific composer and arranger. Many of his more than 200 pieces will be performed as part of the Sunday afternoon concert.
The program will begin with a mixed chorus, with 20 women’s voices joining the men for a set of eight songs, all composed by Raney.
Among the selections is a piece that combines the familiar words and melody of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with a lesser known but equally prayerful piece, “This Is My Father’s World.”
The first set will conclude with a rousing spiritual.
The men will follow with a set of their own before Raney takes the stage for the first of two solo packages.
Following intermission, the Singing Men will return with a set that includes
the familiar and popular song, “You Raise Me Up,” followed by an arrangement of “This Little Light of Mine” that Borrink promises will get the audience’s toes tapping.
The women return in the second half of the concert to join the men in a collection of Raney songs, all of which recognize the cross as a powerful symbol of the Christian faith.
“We’re bringing in a cellist and an oboist to accompany those three numbers,” Borrink said.
The set will conclude with “Lift High the Cross,” featuring a piano and organ duet by Raney and Devon Hollingsworth, master organist at Christ Church and the original director of the Singing Men of Oak Brook.
After a second set by Raney, the entire group will gather once more for a grand finale. Even the audience will get involved and will be asked to sing along as the singers perform Raney’s variations on “Amazing Grace.”
“It will be a real finish,” said Borrink, who promises two full hours of music, from sacred to secular, peaceful to powerful, and all of it beautiful.