Spring shines in Mountain Melody shows

Mountain Melody performs Saturday and Sunday and May 13 at a trio of Calaveras County venues.

“Colors of Spring” is the title for this season’s concerts offered by the Mountain Melody Women’s Chorus of Calaveras. The women are set to perform at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Ayrael Vieux Winery in Douglas Flat and 4 p.m. Sunday at the La Contenta Golf Club outside Valley Springs. The third concert is at 4 p.m. May 13 at the Union Congregational Church in Angels Camp.

The group that formed after a few women gathered just for the fun of singing performs songs that skip through genres to find moving music that the singers enjoy performing. Director Julia Shelby enthusiastically chooses tunes from around the world for the group.

This year’s spring concerts include songs sung in Spanish, like “De Colores” and “Duermete Nino,” and an a cappella tune called “Chili Con Carne” that mixes in different rhythms and percussion. Jazzier offerings include “Where or When” and the melodic favorite “Long Ago and Far Away” is on the program.

“In general, the songs are about the beauty of nature, in many forms,” Shelby said. “A fun, exciting and challenging song conjures up a lightning storm (called ‘Lightning!’). ‘Watercolor Morning’ is a lovely song with beautiful imagery of color as the season changes from winter to spring, based on memories from another time; although we do have changes in the seasons, I imagine this is from a person’s recollections of a place where winter is harsh and spring is truly a reawakening.”

“Another song I love is ‘Beauty of the Night,’” she said. “The imagery is sweet; imagination is in play. Again, color is used throughout, in country scenes and natural accents.”

Shelby especially likes it when the performers and their audiences share in what’s included in each song they sing.

“That is one of our tasks,” she added, “to bring the music alive, giving emotion to the imagery.”

Shelby also looks forward to the ladies singing a particular tune in Spanish.

“We are singing ‘De Colores,’ a Mexican folk song,” she said. “It has many verses, but the three I chose have to do with loving nature, farms, country animals, and the last verse, which has to do with people of all colors laughing, smiling, extending their hands to each other, from people who know freedom. I, personally, feel we need this concept in our lives, especially now.”

Many more songs are part of each concert’s program.

Mountain Melody does not presell tickets to its shows; rather, donations of $10 each are accepted at the door.

Ayrael Vieux Winery is at 1690 Monge Ranch Road, Douglas Flat, and the La Contenta Golf Club is at 1653 Highway 26, outside Valley Springs. The Union Congregational Church is at 1141 S. Main St., Angels Camp.

For more, visit mountainmelody.org.

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