‘Sing With Me’

At its upcoming concert the Fort Dodge Choral Society will sing about music.

The choir will present two works at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 at Grace Lutheran Church. One is “Sing With Me” by Robert Cohen, the composer of “Alzheimer’s Stories,” which the choir performed in 2012. It will also sing “Cantate 2000” by Mannheim Steamroller co-founder Jackson Berkey.

The lyrics to “Sing With Me” come from interviews of people about why they sing

“There’s a lot of beautiful music in it,” said Stephanie Hill, a member of the group. “I guarantee there are a couple songs that will stick in people’s heads.”

Conductor Bruce Perry said some of the lyrics really resonate with the singers, like one story of how a woman was invited to come sing with a choir. Before, she’d always been told to shut up when she tried to sing.

The songs even won over those in the choir who sometimes don’t care about a song’s lyrics.

“I’m not a word person,” said Janice Loving. “So the words don’t mean much to me, but once in a while they will, and I’ll cry. There’s one song in here where I’ll cry. It’s excellent.”

That song is “You Are My Miracle,” she said, and sang the chorus.

“‘You are my miracle, my one and only. I’d be so lonely if you were to go.'”

“Sing With Me” also has a variety of styles, she said.

“There’s a little bit of jazz in there, a little bit of pop. It’s just a wonderful,” she said.

“It’s a bit of a pastiche of styles,” Perry said. “You’ve got some things that sound like Broadway, some things that sound very glorious, almost operatic.”

In one section, the soloist travels through many styles quickly, becoming a Sinatra impersonator, an Elvis impersonator, and then impersonating Luciano Pavarotti.

The other work, “Cantate 2000,” is “an interesting combination of a Latin text and new-age Mannheim Steamroller kind of music,” Perry said.

This piece will feature Perry and accompanist Michelle Havlik-Jergens in a four-hand piano part, along with the choir.

“It’s got this movement ‘By the Waters of Babylon’ that has all this watery, watery stuff going on, in both the choir and the piano parts,” he said. “It’s a very refreshing combination of choral singing and things that will sound very familiar to people, in style if not in the melodies.”

This is Perry’s 20th anniversary with the group, and Havlik-Jergens’ 15th.

“All the music we’re doing this year is based around the joy of singing or in praise of music,” he said.

It’s all different, said choir member Jordan Leclere, in a good way.

“It’s not what I’m used to singing,” he said. “Bruce has a knack for picking the different, and it’s cool to get to sing that sort of thing.”