Lopez Sound a cappella octet will present their annual holiday concert series at Center Church on December 11, 12, and 13, 7:30 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. Admission is by donation, with a portion of proceeds going to the Lopez Community Food Bank. Non-perishable food items will also be collected. Seating is limited; free tickets are available at Islehaven Books, Blossom, and Paper Scissors on the Rock.
As usual, this year’s program, Christmas Memories, will see the premiere of some new arrangements by members of Lopez Sound. The group will also revisit some favorite tunes from their past five years together and share personal memories of Christmases past.
Founded in 2003 by J.C. Marean, Lopez Sound quickly gained a following of folks who like vocal music, rich harmonies, and lively, varied programs. Their December candlelight concerts and June pops performances are usually sold out well in advance.
In the past few years the group has branched out, appearing at the 2007 and 2008 Barbershop Bonanza in Friday Harbor, joining The Bobs in concert at Lopez Center, and performing in tandem with Orcas A Cappella at Lopez Center and Orcas Center last weekend.
Members of Lopez Sound are Christine Langley and Ann Palmer, sopranos; Stephanie Hylton and Leta Marshall, altos; Gary Alexander and Lane Langford, tenors; John Butte, baritone; and J.C. Marean, bass. All are lifelong singers, and some are also instrumentalists, composers and arrangers. Marean has degrees in music education and choral conducting – and a deep, abiding love for barbershop harmony.
About his carefully chosen singers, Marean says, “Unlike large choirs which simply cannot afford the time, the eight members of Lopez Sound do take time for individual members to express their views, be it on interpretation of a musical phrase or on the color of tops to wear at a performance. This input gives a sense of ownership. Ownership leads to pride in the outcome and pride in the outcome leads to commitment. My main job as leader is to create and maintain an environment where group members are free to express themselves in a positive way. My secondary job as director is to give the down beat, then get out of the way. When natural talent is free to express itself, beautiful things happen.”