What We Do
The choral society rehearses and performs most of the year aside from a 2 month winter break. Rehearsals are scheduled 2-3 times a month and 6-8 concerts are typically performed each season. LACS has recorded an album approximately every 3 years since 1997 and has performed on 6 traveling tours to date. Our group strives for excellence for our selves, our audiences, and endeavors to impact the next generation of choral performers.
The Choral Society’s season runs from March through December each year, and rehearsals are normally held on Monday nights of those months from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the choir room at Lakewood High School, 7223 Velte Rd, Lake Odessa, or at the Sunfield United Brethren Church just west of Sunfield, MI on M43. Full rehearsals are normally held on the 1st and 4th Mondays, with sectional rehearsals usually held on the opposite Mondays, making the commitment for singers two to three rehearsals a month.
Yearly, the Lakewood Area Choral Society presents numerous sacred and secular concerts throughout the state. They have performed at the Welsh Auditorium in Grand Rapids,Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, the Opera House in Grand Ledge, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The Choral Society has appeared twice at the annual Grand Rapids Arts Festival, at Art in the Park in Lake Odessa, and has held many concerts at various fairs, schools, and churches. The choir has sung the National Anthem for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Lansing Lugnuts, and the Detroit Tigers as well as for high school basketball games in the Lakewood area.
In the past sixteen years, the Choral Society has embarked on two European trips, in 1997 and 2000, as well as a trip to New York in June of 2004. In 2007, the choral society returned to New York and then cruised to Canada, with concerts performed in Halifax and Saint John. A 25th anniversary trip to Chicago was taken in June, 2010, and in 2013, the choir traveled to Washington DC, performing at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Lincoln Memorial, and Walter Reed Hospital. You can see our current performance schedule here.
As a public school music educator for over thirty-five years, as well as the founding artistic director and conductor of LACS, I have been part of numerous mountaintop travel experiences with both teenagers and adults. My school choirs have taken three European concert tours, as well as multiple trips to New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Toronto, St. Louis, and Nashville. My choral society has been to Europe and New York City twice, as well as having traveled to Chicago and Washington DC. Several years ago I even took LACS on a cruise to Canada. In 2004 we performed an exchange concert with the Greece Choral Society in Rochester, New York, under the direction of my high school choral conductor, Ralph Zecchino. What a joy that was to share the stage with the one person singularly responsible for this, my chosen profession.
Simply stated, our love of choral music, along with experienced tour companies, has enabled us to see the world and share our musical gifts, and, in turn, the world has given back to us countless memories, exciting adventures, and opportunities that we, no doubt, would have never had individually. Taking young teens and, now, older adults, many of whom have never been out of the country before, to see sights they had only read about or seen on television or via the internet, performing with them in magnificent architectural and acoustical wonders, enjoying ethnic foods and various cultures, and further broadening their perspective of history has been priceless.
If I had one wish only for the members of LACS, it would be that each singer has an opportunity to travel with the choir. The memories, new-found friendships, and cultural awakenings are immeasurable.
––Robert C. Oster
Accomplishments to Celebrate!
In 2010 the choral society celebrated its silver anniversary. To commemorate this special year LACS commissioned Michigan composer Frank DeWald of Okemos to write an original composition for the choir. After perusing countless texts, some even submitted by members of the choral society, Frank chose the Sea and Shore text from 19th-century Pennsylvania poet Henry Van Dyke’s poem entitled Music. Composition began in early 2010 with the initial drafts being ready by March of the same year. Rehearsals began in earnest that summer, and the piece, a stunning eight-part setting with a virtuoso piano accompaniment, was world-premiered on October 23 at the choral society’s 25th anniversary concert in the Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, MI. Both Mr. DeWald and his wife were in attendance. The piece was published nationally in 2013 by Boosey & Hawkes and has remained a staple in the choir’s repertoire.