MANSON?- For everything there is a season, and for the Manson Meridian singers, late January is a season of hard work and preparation.
"There's less than a month before the show; everybody realizes this is crunch time. You have to put in whatever you do individually to learn the music," said Lynn Meier. Meier has been with the Meridians for all for its 41 years.
Jerrold Jimmerson, who has directed the group 26 years, explained this year's theme.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
From left, LeAnne Wernimont, Lisa Westring, and Deanna Meyer rehearse their song, “Whispering Snow,”?from the Manson Meridian Singers’ upcoming show, “Seasons of Love.”
"It's a combination of two things. First, the idea of seasons, so we sing songs dealing with summer, fall, etc. Second, we incorporate the idea of love too. We're doing the song 'Seasons of Love,' from the musical 'Rent,' and I felt it worked well for blending those two ideas."
The show will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 11, and at 2 p.m. Feb 12 in the Kate Toben Auditorium at the Manson Northwest Webster High School.
Members say that the show is a great time for people to come together.
If you go:
WHO: Manson Meridian Singers.
WHAT: "Seasons of Love," the 41st annual show.
WHEN: Feb 9 and 11, 7:30 p.m.; Feb 12, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Kate Toben Auditorium at Manson Northwest Webster High School in Manson.
TICKETS: All seats reserved, $8 each.
DIRECTOR is Jerrold Jimmerson, and accompanists are Lori Erkenbrack and Jill Pliner. A three-piece combo also plays.
ORDER TICKETS by mail by sending a request and check to Manson Meridian Singers Tickets, Box 25, Manson, IA 50563. Include name, address and phone number along with date requested and number of tickets wanted, along with payment and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Include any special requests, such as handicap seating or wheelchair accessibility.
CONTACT Kym Sutter for more information, (712) 469-3666.
"It's a social outing for me. I like the fellowship," said Shelly Block. "I like to sing, and I have a lot of friends in the Meridians. A lot of them I don't see from February to September, so it's nice to see them again."
Block said she has been on the set decorating committee for as long as she's been in the Meridians, about 16 years.
This year's set was designed by Jeff Bohn.
This year, the choir consists of about 32 singers who are accompanied by a pianist and a three-piece instrumental combo.
Lori Erkenbrack, of Rockwell City, has been a pianist with the Meridians for six seasons, after singing in the group for five seasons.
"It's a bit more nerve-wracking playing the piano, because people hear that," Erkenbrack said. "When you sing, your voice is supposed to blend, but I stand out on piano."
Jimmerson said some of the challenges for the performers are in learning where to stand for each set, and being able to move on and off the stage quickly.
"We have less specials this year, so that makes it even harder," he said. "Most of the time they only have two or three minutes to get off the stage, change outfits, and get back on."
But probably the hardest part is learning all of the words, Jimmerson said.
"Tonight, we're going to start going without music," he said on Jan. 19. "It's a big jump, but it has to happen. I need to know what they know and what they don't know; they need to start making mistakes so we can figure out what we need to correct.
Although they love all of the music, Jimmerson and Meier agreed on their favorite song this year.
"Each year, there's one that touches me somehow, deeper than the others," Jimmerson said. "This year it's 'The Time for Turning,' from our religious set. It's such a simply composed song, but with such a good message. When we're done with that, I just have to take a deep breath. I think all our religious songs are particularly strong this year. That's probably the high point of the show."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org