Lake Wales Chorale

Vince Treadway directs the Lake Wales Chorale with orchestra on April 16, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Lake Wales.

Vince Treadway directs the Lake Wales Chorale with orchestra on April 16, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Lake Wales.

Vince Treadway                       Lake Wales Chorale Director

Vince Treadway                       Lake Wales Chorale Director

Lake Wales Chorale

“The Chorale has been a source of great joy, music, and fellowship for the Lake Wales community and surrounding area for years,” said Vince Treadway, Chorale Director who also serves as director of Music Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales.

The Lake Wales Chorale will be performing their Spring concert "Twin Diamonds" on March 31, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lake Wales. For more information on this exciting performance, see the article below.

TOP left to right: Amelia Updike, Carrie Williams Blackburn, Dana Hofstrom, Margaret Hepworth.                                            BOTTOM left to right: Nancy Sichler, Tom Sloane, Jonathan Reed, Vince Treadway.

Outstanding Chorale with Orchestra to Perform “Twin Diamonds”

by Rev. Jim Reddick

The Lake Wales Chorale with Music Remembrance Orchestra will be joining together at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lake Wales on Friday, March 31st at 7:00 PM to perform their Spring Concert, “Twin Diamonds.”  One of these is the well known Franz Schubert Mass No. 2 in G Major, and the second masterwork will likely receive new exposure to the Lake Wales area, the Francis Poulenc Gloria.  These two unique classical works pair well together for their diversity, offering a splendid evening of beautiful musical entertainment.

The Lake Wales Chorale has been a cultural icon in Lake Wales since its inception in 1972, founded by local attorney Michael Crews. Over the years, the Chorale has traveled and entertained international audiences. Bok Tower Garden’s Carillonneur for thirty-four years, Mr. Milford Myhre, simultaneously dedicated 30 of those years as the Chorale’s first musical director, thus establishing a solid, quality foundation.  He now sings with and is the Chorale’s oldest member.  Succeeding Myhre with a passion for excellence was Dr. Gabriel Statom, Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales.  He dedicated his time to three entities, the Church, the Chorale, and the Bach Festival of Central Florida.  Upon Statom’s departure, Mr. Robert Wilson, Choirmaster of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Lake Wales, and Dr. Virginia Davidson, renowned conductor in New York, provided strong yet short tenured leadership.  Special situations within the last two years have required the greatly appreciated assistance and musical expertise of Rev. Charles Little, Minister of Worship Arts at First Baptist Church of Lake Wales and Mr. Dana Hofstrom, Director of Choral Music at Warner University.

Mr. Vince Treadway, who now serves as the Director of Music for the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales, was appointed Musical Director of the Lake Wales Chorale in September 2014 and presently serves with distinction in that capacity.  Vince holds a Master’s degree in Church Music and a Master’s degree in Organ Performance from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. He founded the Alliance of Christian Musicians in 2001 and taught organ at Cairn University in Philadelphia, NJ. He composes and arranges, and teaches piano, organ, and voice privately. Mr. Treadway performs in the United States and abroad, and has been guest conductor for the Bach Festival of Central Florida.

Lake Wales Chorale’s accompanist, Mrs. Tammy Little, pianist at First Baptist Church of Lake Wales, is on a health-related leave of absence.  Interim Accompanist Dr. Jonathan Reed, who is Assistant Professor of Music at Warner University, has been with the Chorale for the last three seasons.  He holds music degrees from Butler University, Bob Jones University, and University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. He is a professional pianist in both the concert hall and the classroom. An active arranger and performer, Dr. Reed has arranged and recorded three albums of piano music, presented numerous sacred and classical concerts, and performed with both choral and instrumental ensembles.

The selected soloists for this performance are members of the Lake Wales Chorale. All of these soloists possess voice training and have performed as principal soloists in a large variety of venues over the years.  Schubert’s Mass in G contains four sections.  The soloists for these sections are: Kyrie – Amelia Updike, soprano; Gloria – Maggie Hepworth, soprano, and Tom Sloane, bass; Benedictus – Nancy Sichler, soprano, Robert Wilson, tenor, and Dana Hofstrom, tenor; and the Agnus Dei – Maggie Hepworth, soprano, and Tom Sloane, bass.  Poulenc’s Gloria features one soloist throughout and Carrie Williams Blackburn, soprano will perform.  In addition, there is a brief trio which will be performed by Diane Armington, Louise Barber, and Faith Treadway.  Included in this article are most of the soloists’ biographical sketches and photos.  All were not available at press time.

Amelia H. Updike, soprano, being born in Redbank, N.J., studied voice and participated in various vocal ensembles in elementary and high school throughout Monmouth County, N.J.  She now resides in Babson Park with her family who are deeply rooted in Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church, and where Amelia has been singing in the church choir for the past 43 years. She is Lead Cantor and member of the Liturgical Art and Environment Ministry for the church. As a singer, Amelia has been an active member of the Lake Wales Chorale since Mr. Milford Myhre was the Director, and performed as soloist in many concerts. Imbedded in her faith, Amelia lives and sings for God’s honor and glory.

Margaret A. Hepworth, soprano, is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music where she received her music degree in vocal operatic performance with a minor degree in piano.  She continued her vocal studies in Cincinnati and New York City and worked as an operatic soprano as well as concert soloist in the greater New York City area until moving to Florida in 2005.  Maggie has served as the Music Director and a board member of The Richmond Theatre Collection in Staten Island, NY; Music Director and conductor of the 125 Broad Street Singers, and Music Director and conductor for the Marsh Co. chorus, both in Manhattan, NY.  She has also worked as a vocal coach as well as a classroom music teacher.  She enjoys choral arranging and is a founding member and vocal performer with The Classical Musicians of Solivita in Poinciana, FL.

Tom Sloane, bass, is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and performed with the Martha Myers Dance Ensemble, The Napa Valley Theater Company, and the Unity Music Theater Project in Seattle. Over the past thirty years he has enjoyed singing in various choirs, chorales, and small vocal ensembles. He has been a frequent soloist in the Seattle area, Westport, Connecticut, and Palm Beach, Florida.  In Virginia Davidson’s comic operetta “David and Goliath” performed in 2013 by the Lake Wales Chorale, Tom sang the role of Jesse, father of both David and Goliath.

Nancy Sichler, soprano, and her husband Joe became residents of Lake Wales several years ago, after retiring from Farmington, CT.  Soon thereafter, Nancy started singing in the choir at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Wales.  Just last year she joined ranks with the Lake Wales Chorale and is thrilled to have found such a wonderful venue for singing exciting choral literature.

Robert Wilson, tenor, is Organist and Choirmaster for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Wales.  He earned a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Florida while serving as a graduate assistant to the choral department.  While at UF, Robert was an accompanist for the University Chorale and the UF opera workshop production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica.  He has performed in productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Copland’s The Tender Land, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and concert performances of Handel Oratorios and Bach Cantatas. Wilson has sung with the Atlanta Singers and the Robert Shaw Chorale.

Dana Hofstrom, tenor, is Instructor in Worship & Music at Warner University. He is also the Director of Choral Music and the Chair of Music Department. His musical experience includes singing with the Tulsa Opera Company and the Tulsa Carolers, a professional a cappela group. Before joining the Warner University staff he served as worship pastor at White Chapel Church of God in Daytona Beach. He has directed choirs for the past thirty years.

Carrie Williams Blackburn, soprano, is a Lake Wales native who began vocal study at age eight with Florida Southern College professor Jack Thompson. She continued there for college with a full music scholarship to study with Beverly Wolff and pursue a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. For graduate study, Carrie attended the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University with a full graduate assistantship. There she enjoyed debuting an original opera by composer Paul Epstein and award-winning novelist Toby Olson, performing musical theater excerpts with Davis Gaines, and soloing for various oratorios at Temple and throughout the Philadelphia area. Carrie was Professor of Voice at Warner University and Southeastern University, and Professor of Humanities at Webber International University.  She simultaneously had a private vocal studio. Carrie’s first orchestral solo debut, in her teenage years, was with the Lake Wales Chorale and director Milford Myhre performing John Rutter’s Requiem. Blackburn now proudly sings with this group of skilled and accomplished musicians again!

Diane Armington, mezzo-soprano, grew up in a musical family where harmonizing with one another was enjoyed. Diane’s experience began as a young child in the church and continues to this day at the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.  Her solo work was generated from the beginning. She studied voice briefly at Muskingum College in Ohio before turning to Comparative Literature. Diane theorizes that the message and spirit of a musical piece is the most important aspect of a solo.  Armington has performed with Bach Festival of Central Florida for the last decade and other various groups.

The musical pairing of Schubert and Poulenc will present a vast difference in style and composition.  This author interviewed the Chorale’s Music Director, Vince Treadway, on the Spring Concert “Twin Diamonds” music selections.

Q.  The Schubert Mass in G is a very popular and widely known masterwork performed not only in art communities but also in the music departments of many colleges and universities.  The Poulenc Gloria, although an intriguing modern masterwork, is not nearly as well known.  They present different and distinct musical styles.  What should the concert attendees know of these classical pieces as they listen to the Chorale’s performance?

A. The crucial difference in the two compositions is the harmonic language that is employed.  Schubert’s early compositional style was still strongly linked to the Classical period, yet reached into some of the stylistic changes that are found in the Romantic period, such as more frequent and dramatic dynamic changes, strong harmonic tension and release, unexpected harmonic shifts, and inventive use of color with the orchestra.  Poulenc, on the other hand, frequently used dissonance and frequent harmonic shifts to create color and interest.  Poulenc’s use of the orchestra was more like an impressionistic artist’s painting style; a brush here and here to give an indication of an idea rather than a fully fleshed-out statement.  The solos in the Gloria are austere, angular, and yet mysteriously beautiful -- perfect for the text that they are setting.  Poulenc was like Debussy in his attitude of his own compositional style; he liked it, and so he did it and did not care that some reacted negatively to it.  Poulenc’s ideas have influenced many composers since by giving them the freedom to experiment with new ideas.

Q.  In the 2016 Winter Concert last December, the Chorale presented an outstanding performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Music Remembrance Chamber Orchestra. Tell us about the orchestra which will be performing with the Chorale for this Spring Concert.

A.  Chamber orchestra usually refers to strings only, with perhaps a single trumpet or timpani.  We have a full orchestra for the Poulenc and, yes, some of the orchestra will play for the Schubert.  The name of the orchestra is the “Music Remembrance Orchestra.”  It is called the “Music Remembrance Orchestra” because the booking agent, Andrea Rowlison, has named her organization Music Remembrance.  She books musicians for many concerts throughout the area.  I have used her for years to do the bookings for me, and she always supplies excellent players.

Q.  Since becoming the Music Director of the Lake Wales Chorale in September 2014, what would you share with the community about the Chorale, its quality, its members, and your directing work?

A.  The Lake Wales Chorale consists of devoted singers from all around the area, and is not limited to Lake Wales.  It includes folks of varying vocal and music reading skills, but all have the desire to learn and improve and all have a willingness to work toward a beautiful result.  One of the challenges in conducting a community chorus is providing enough familiarity and fun to engage everyone, yet also challenge and inspire, especially those who have greater musical knowledge and experience.  The LWC is also a place for folks to get to know each other, and simply enjoy the fellowship and joy of singing together!  The LWC has had several fine Directors over the years, and each one has brought their unique ideas and musical gifts to the group.  One of my goals is to help the chorus sing as freely and musically as they can by providing the instruction and guidance they need to sing to their best ability. 

Q.  What masterworks are you anticipating for future concerts/performances?

A.  There are so many wonderful works that could be included in the repertoire of the LWC, and I am continuously considering what will work for this group so that there are a pleasing variety of styles, genres, and levels of challenge to keep everyone engaged.  We are always open to new singers, and anyone interested only needs to contact me for a very simple and friendly audition. 

Tickets for the Lake Wales Chorale “Twin Diamonds” Spring Concert are priced at $5.00 for Students with I.D. and $15.00 for Adults.  Tickets are available from Chorale members, on the Lake Wales Arts Council website,, and from the Arts Council office. Polk State College Lake Wales Arts Center is located at 1098 State Road 60 East(NW corner of 11th St and SR 60). You can call 863-676-8426 to use credit/debit cards, or go personally and pay by cash or check.   If you buy tickets over the phone they will be waiting for you at the concert venue door.  If you want to buy tickets at the door, if available, please arrive early. You may pay at the door with cash, check, or credit/debit card.

The performance of the “Twin Diamonds” Spring Concert begins at 7:00 P.M. on Friday, March 31st. The concert venue, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, is located at 644 South 9th Street in Lake Wales; 2 blocks South off S.R. 60.  You will not want to miss this memorable evening of Schubert’s Mass in G, and Poulenc’s Gloria with full orchestra.


Love to sing?

If you love to sing and are interested in joining the Chorale, contact us to set up a time to audition with the Director. Rehearsals for the fall semester begin on Monday, September 12, 2016  7:00-8:30 p.m. with new member registration from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., Updike Hall, PSC Lake Wales Arts Center. Chorale member dues are $50 per semester, $15 for students. Music included. For more information, call the Arts Council at (863) 676-8426 or fill out the form below.

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