CRESTVIEW — Schola Cantorum, one of the region's top choral groups, brings an enjoyable hint of informality to its concerts, establishing rapport with an audience that may be unfamiliar with classic songs.


CRESTVIEW — Schola Cantorum, one of the region's top choral groups, brings an enjoyable hint of informality to its concerts, establishing rapport with an audience that may be unfamiliar with classic songs.



Such was the case with the program of sacred music shared Sunday evening at First Presbyterian Church in Crestview.



In a concert titled, "In the Beginning... Amen!," the chorus performed 10 songs ranging from classical vocals to American spirituals, with Northwest Florida State College music professor Carolyn Schlatter’s piano accompaniment.



It featured an unusually upbeat version of "When the Saints Go Marching In," which, Schola director Dr. John Leatherwood said, "you've never heard the likes of before — and may never hear again."



Backed by a chorus of "Rum chicka chick boom boom," soloist Richard Montague sang the familiar lyrics with gusto. He was also soloist on the spiritual "Wade in de Water," which drew the audience’s hearty applause.



Concert highlights included the beautiful "Alleluia," before which Leatherwood quipped, "We sincerely hope you understand the words to this piece.” "Alleluia" was the lone lyric.



A spirited rendition of the old campfire spiritual, "Amen," featuring Stefanie Ives’ lovely solo, concluded the performance.



This was the next to last in a series of five performances held around the county, leaving the audience eager for Schola Cantorum's always enjoyable Christmas concert.



Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.