The Chautauqua Chamber Singers offered the community a beautifully balanced and varied concert Friday evening. It was an evening to be treasured in memory for many months to come.
The concert was named ''Twelfth Night: A Celebration of Light.''
The ensemble was fairly large, with more than 30 singers. As they do traditionally, they wore clothing from the Renaissance, adding the glamour of fairy tales and history to the beautifully decorated sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Jamestown. The splendid choice of musical works matched very well, both the season and the talents of the performing artists.
The concert is traditionally performed in the structure of the English Lessons and Carols. In this case, Director Rebecca Ryan selected 16 musical works and seven readings, enough to range from the solemn spiritualism of the Christmas season, through the joy of the world at the birth of hope and joy.
Not only were the moods and styles of the music well balanced, the vocal parts themselves were especially well balanced. No part was unheard and no singers stood out, above the ensemble.
Strong support came from organist Jennifer Schruers. Although there were certainly dramatic moments in the organ parts, her mastery of the beautiful instrument was especially noteworthy in the intricate and complex harmonies of John Rutter's ''Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind.''
Bryan Eckenrode, whose talent for both the cello and the bagpipes brought very different but very positive accents from the dramatic processional and the concluding ''Highland Cathedral,'' to the warmly embracing obligato of Roland E. Martin's tender ''Qui Creavit Celum.''
The readings were diverse - brief, yet powerfully moving - ranging from the Gospel of Matthew, to the poetry of Rachel Field, the Jewish Prayer Book, and the anonymous writings filled with hope, found in the concentration camp at Terezin. All were well-read by members of the singing ensemble.
Ms. Ryan's directing style is clear and strong, and the singers responded to it, beautifully. The concert lasted just over an hour, and I, for one, was sorry when it was over.
The next performance which will be sponsored by the Community Music Project will be a performance titled ''The Last Words Remembered,'' which will feature the Jamestown Choral Society, the Jamestown Community College Chorus, and the Chancel Choir of Zion Covenant Church. It will take place at Zion Covenant on March 30 at 7:30 p.m.