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Gresham Community Choir to perform free concert June 4

Show will feature gospel tunes and popular hymns


CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: NICK CALABRESE  - In its 25th year, the Gresham Community Choir has become known for its seasonal concerts.Get ready to be

revived!

The Gresham Community Choir will perform its spring concert, titled “Gospel Revival,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at Reynolds High School, 1698 S.W. Cherry Park Road, Troutdale.

Admission is free, and the choir is collecting nonperishable food items, diapers and health products for a women’s shelter, notes Choir Director Annette Steele.

The choir has 68 members, ranging in age from 18 through mid 90s, and the group generally grows in size to 75 members for its Christmas season concert.

“Gospel Revival” will be “an hour of toe-tapping, hand-clapping, spirit- filled music,” she says. The choir will perform such songs as “Wade in the Water,” “Down to the River To Pray,” “Alleluia, Give the Glory!,” “Open My Eyes/Amazing Grace,” “He Never Failed Me Yet” and other uplifting selections. The concert will end with the hymn “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” Steele says.

Musical therapy

Amy Jordens, a cousin of Steele, is a married mother of two children in Northeast Portland and has sung alto in the choir since 2000.

“I do love to sing,” Jordens says. “For me, going to the choir is a kind of therapy.”

She notes that the choir is secular, but is looking forward to putting on a music show with hymns and gospel numbers. Jordens will trade vocal lines with a male bass singer on the hymn, “Be With Me.”

“This is the second time we’ve done a gospel revival,” she says. “It’s really moving, and I think that audience feels that. Even if they’re not religious, it’s a moving experience and to see the audience feel that kind of lifts everyone up.”

Gresham resident Truman Grandey, a retired Mt. Hood Community College instructor, has sung for eight years in the choir as well as in high school choirs as well as performed in college musicals. He is looking forward to performing on Saturday.

In particular, he says he enjoys singing “Down to the River to Pray,” which may be familiar to those who have seen the 2000 movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” The tune modulates in key a number of times.

“It has a lot of of movement,” he says of the spiritual. “It seems to get more intense as it moves along.”

He adds that the choir also relishes singing “Open My Eyes” as a prelude to “Amazing Grace.”

“It’s one you can tell the choir enjoys,” he says. “It’s a pretty one.”

Grandey calls Steele “a delightful director,” noting he never regrets coming to choir practice.

“You might be tired and not want to do this when you show up, but half an hour later you’re glad you came.”

New members welcome

The choir features many longtime members, but is open to new ones and Jordens says is “very welcoming.” The Gresham Community Choir doesn’t hold auditions, so you can simply register with the group to sing. You also don’t have to know how to read music.

Registrations are being accepted for the fall term. Rehearsals will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays starting Sept. 12 at Faith United Methodist Church, 27400 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale.

To register, call Director Annette Steele at 503-465-0997, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Check it out

WHO: Gresham Community Choir

PERFORMS: ‘Gospel Revival’

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 4

WHERE: Reynolds High School Performing Arts Center, 1698 S.W. Cherry Park Road, Troutdale

COST: Free. Donations of canned foods, diapers, health products for women’s shelter accepted.

INFO: 503-465-0997, Facebook.com/greshamcommunitychoir