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CCHS, Charles City Singers to collaborate on vocal concert

CCHS vocal director Derek Sturtevant leads the choir at a high school vocal concert last spring. (Press file photo James Grob.)
CCHS vocal director Derek Sturtevant leads the choir at a high school vocal concert last spring. (Press file photo James Grob.)
By James Grob,

Some special guests will be joining Charles City High School’s first vocal concert of the school year next Tuesday.

The Charles City Singers will be joining forces with CCHS singers to present “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” among other pieces, at the grades 9-12 fall vocal concert.

The concert is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.  Tuesday at the old middle school, North Grand Auditorium. CCHS vocal music director Derek Sturtevant said about 140 kids at the high school level will be involved, along with somewhere between 40 and 60 members of the Charles City Singers, the town’s community vocal group.

“It’s great for the kids to work with another director, and great for our kids to sing with older singers,” Sturtevant said. “It’s good for them to have that experience.”

Sturtevant, who usually lends his own vocal talents to the Charles City Singers after Christmas, said that in his time at Charles City, CCHS has worked with the Charles City Singers on special projects, but this is the first time the two groups have combined for a regular concert.

He said the Charles City Singers also will perform one piece on their own, the concert choir will do two pieces and Comet Chorus will do three pieces.

The event is part of the Singers’ 43rd season. The Charles City Singers typically perform two shows each year, one before Christmas and one in the spring. Scott Blankenbaker is in his second season as director of the Charles City Singers. He lives in Charles City and works in Austin as a music instructor at Riverland Community College.

“I really love working with Scott,” Sturtevant said. “He’s a really great guy, and he’s wonderful to work with.”

Sturtevant said the concert has been eye-opening for some of his students.

“I have a lot of kids say to me, ‘oh, I didn’t know you could sing after high school,’” he said. “They don’t realize it until they actually see it in front of their face.”

The spirit of collaboration will continue in December when the Charles City Singers and the Charles City Community Chamber Orchestra collaborate to present an early winter concert on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Holiday songs and other favorites by Durante, Vivaldi, Lauridsen, Gjeilo and others that speak of transformation will be on the program, with a reception to follow. Tickets for that event are available at First Security and First Citizens banks, the Charles City Arts Center, and from any Charles City Singer.