Giving audiences what the weather didn’t, the Outer Cape Chorale delivered music from and about the sea at its spring concerts on June 18, 19, and 20, beginning with a couple of ambitious pieces and then lifting in energy and joyousness into Ruth Morris Gray’s rowdy Break, Break, Break, a song so alive one could almost feel the creaking of a ship’s deck beneath one’s feet.
A particular high point in the concert was a guest appearance by Cape Rep Theatre’s Tom Andrew and Stephen Russell, reprising Wind, Weather, and Tide from the highly successful musical Boundless. “You belong out here,” Russell read from the script, “I’ve been waiting for you,” a bonding that many of us feel with the sea, affinity that was underlined when director Allison Beaven made a point of calling out native Cape Codders from chorale and audience alike.
The second act included a nod to former Outer Cape Chorale director Jon Arterton as the group performed songs with his special touch on arrangements of Summertime, Red Sails in the Sunset, A Trip to Provincetown, and Old Cape Cod. And a favorite from the past was brought back, Eric Whitacre’s haunting and achingly beautiful The Seal Lullaby. Beaven was graceful and energetic and as always brings out the best in all the musicians.
For many people the high point of this series was the collection of Mary Oliver poems set to music by Ronald Perera and accompanied by a skillful string quartet, work excerpted from Why I Wake Early. The music was eloquent and extremely well performed, and the presentation marred only by the decision to have each poem read aloud before being sung.
The ragtime beat of Oysters and Clams had everyone tapping their feet, audience participation in parts of Old Cape Cod (excepting Arterton’s creative additions!) got people in a nostalgic frame of mind, and overall the concert delighted. One of the pleasures of the spring and fall concerts is the obvious delight experienced by the Outer Cape Chorale members themselves, a delight that proves itself, time and time again, infectious.