Sunday’s Everett Chorale concert will be the final performance for Lee Mathews, who has led the chorale as its artistic director for 25 years. (Contributed photo)

Sunday’s Everett Chorale concert will be the final performance for Lee Mathews, who has led the chorale as its artistic director for 25 years. (Contributed photo)

Everett Chorale’s season-ending concert will be Lee Mathews’ last

Meanwhile Sno-King Community Chorale wraps up its season with two performances under a new director.

The Everett Chorale’s upcoming concert will include a double coda — its season-ending concert on Sunday as well as the final performance for Lee Mathews, who has led the group as its artistic director for 25 years.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the Sno-King Community Chorale will wrap up its season with two performances at the Edmonds Center for the Arts with a new beginning — the first under director Dustin Willetts.

The theme of the Everett Chorale’s June 10 concert, “What A Wonderful World,” is part of a season of requested songs.

Audience members were polled a year ago on their favorites, Mathews said. Many were favorites of the chorale as well.

It underscores a message Mathews said he has been trying to deliver in the chorale’s concerts for many years of peace and harmony. “That could come about, I feel, if we could all learn to sing together,” Mathews said.

“Just making music together is such a powerful thing. It’s shown it can cool tempers and bring people together because of the universal feeling of the joy of music,” he said.

Although this is his last concert directing the chorale, Mathews, who is 76, said he doesn’t feel it is a bittersweet moment.

As a young conductor, he said he was interested in finding out if older conductors were ready to retire so there would be room for him to move into that position.

“Now that I’m the older fellow, and it’s time for me to step aside and let some younger conductors find their way,” Mathews said. “It’s just part of the life cycle.”

In April, the chorale announced the selection of Jennifer Rodgers as its new artistic director and conductor. Rodgers, 46, is the first woman to lead the group in its 53-year history. Her first concert will be in December.

Mathews will continue his work as director of music ministry at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett.

The chorale’s concert, with the theme “What a Wonderful World,” will include three pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams, including “O Clap Your Hands,” which will be performed with the Brass Reflections ensemble.

Mathews said it’s probably his favorite piece of the entire concert because “it’s just so uplifting.”

As the concert’s title suggests, it also will include a rendition of Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

The Sno-King Community Chorale will end its season with a concert version of “Bye Bye Birdie,” on June 9 in Edmonds.

Willetts, the group’s new director, is 34 and lives on Camano Island. He was selected to replace long-time director Frank DeMiero, who retired in April.

Willetts previously conducted the 120-member Kulshan Chorus in Bellingham for five years.

The music the group will sing grew out of a musical based on Elvis Presley’s induction into the Army. Conrad Birdie, the lead in that story, faces an identical situation.

Brian Hodder will perform in the role of Conrad Birdie.

Among the songs included in the concert are “Put on a Happy Face,” “One Last Kiss” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

The Everett Chorale’s season-ending concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 10 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett. Tickets — $20 for adults and $17 for seniors and military personnel — are available online at villagetheatre.org/epac.php or by calling 425-257-8600.

A post-concert reception is scheduled to honor Lee Mathews’ 25 years as artistic director.

On June 11, an event to honor Mathews and raise money for the chorale is scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m. at Emory’s on Silver Lake, 11830 19th Ave. SE, Everett. Twenty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the chorale with a coupon printed in its concert program or from the chorale’s website. Call 425-337-7772 for reservations.

Sno-King Community Chorale will perform a concert version of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 9 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students, and $15 for children 12 and younger. Order tickets at www.edmondscenterforthearts.org.

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