It was, it was, it was on May 17th as the Kona Choral Society, under the inspired baton of Maestra Susan McCreary Duprey burst forth in “Riversong.” “Sing and dance,” urged the chorus, “let your hearts be gay, let the sound of the river take you away.”

The 25th Anniversary Concert was a celebration, of our Society, yes, but most deeply, of music itself. There were 90 plus chorus voices, four soloists, and 38 orchestra members, one of the largest, finest, fullest ensembles we have had. The music called on all these resources, ranging from the more introspective songs such as “I Am In Need of Music,” to Vaughan Williams’ superb composition honoring Sir Henry Woods 50th year on the podium (1938), “Serenade to Music,” and culminating with the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

This was, as far as we know, the first performance of this Symphony or any movement from it, In Kona. With good reason. The Ninth Symphony, described by Wagner as the most noble of all music, also been called Heaven for the listeners but with a shudder, hellish for many of the musicians. Never himself a singer, Beethoven wrote at the highest register for all the voices, demanding of the sopranos exquisite sounds at B above high C, and leaps of 12ths for the basses. He got what he demanded, in our Anniversary concert, with the perfection and beauty of the Elysium he envisioned, where Joy dwelt, and where all men would be brothers.

A special intermezzo by the Youth Chorus of the Kona Choral Society, led by Bernaldo Evangelista and accompanied by Gloria Juan, included four challenging pieces. These included Praetorius’ “Jubilate Deo” and Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth.” For Hewett’s spine-tingling “Poliahu”, the Youth Chorus was splendidly joined by members of the Kealakehe Intermediate School Chorus.

At the conclusion of this memorable Anniversary Concert, the performers received a prolonged standing ovation, with applause almost as fortissimo as the great ending to the Ninth:

“Freude, schoner Gotterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!”

We hope you yourself were there, and invite you to join our 2015-2016 season as we begin our wonderful 26th year.