Nothing But Treble


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Amy Horst is a soprano vocalist and voice teacher from Hilo. Dorothy Williams is a pianist and organist from Minneapolis. Together, they’re Nothing But Treble.

They’re the stars of “Bach to Broadway: The Classical Concert on Steroids,” Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at First United Protestant Church on Waianuenue Avenue just above the Kaiser Hilo Clinic. Tickets are $10 general, $7 students and seniors, available at Basically Books in Hilo, Keaau Natural Foods and the door.

“These are pieces that I’ve always been scared of doing, brilliant pieces that voice teachers have always told me would be great goals,” Horst said Monday evening. “The Bach piece that opens the show, Melanie Oldfather told me that every soprano should do it every day for life, and I had never done it. The other highlight piece, which is ‘Knoxville, Summer of 1915’ by Samuel Barber is a 16-minute piece that’s somewhere between opera and soundscapes. It’s a piece that I’ve always wanted to do.”

As for Bach, “The notes move really fast. It’s one of of those kinds of pieces,” Horst explained. “The word in Italian is coloratura. This is where the soprano and the trumpet alternate. And the organ keeps everything moving. Whether people recognize it or not, the song expresses a great deal of joy with the runs.”

Paul Arceo, Hawaii County bandmaster, will provide the trumpet to the Bach’s “Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen!”

The aria, from Bach’s Cantata No. 51, is in German. Horst also sings in Italian, French and English in the concert. One piece, “Alleluia” from Mozart’s “Exsultate, jubilate,” is in Latin.

“But there’s only one word in the piece, so that doesn’t really count,” Horst quipped. It is, however, a spirited, jubilant and challenging work.

On the flip side of the daunting classical pieces are the Broadway standards including one, which Horst said presents its own potential pitfall.

“I’m doing a version of ‘Singing in the Rain’ that I’ve never heard before,” she said. “And everybody knows the tune, so it kind of scares me to sing it, because everybody’s used to Gene Kelly dancing to it.

“To have learned it as a singing piece was more of a challenge than I expected, but I couldn’t pass it up, because it’s Hilo. It’s likely to be raining as I sing it.”

Horst said she chose to hold the concert in the church because of its excellent acoustics and its pipe organ, which showcases Williams’ prowess as an accompanist. Horst met Williams through connections made when Horst was director of Puna Men’s Chorus, and she played concerts in Minneapolis on a visit to her father.

“We had one hour of rehearsals and did two concerts, and it was as if we had been working together for decades,” Horst said. Since that time, I’ve made three more trips to Minneapolis, and each time we sang a concert or two and had some rehearsal time. She told me that she’d like to come here and this is the first time that it’s worked out. That one hour rehearsal has resulted in a partnership that we’re both really happy with.”

Horst said that she’s received a warm reception from Hilo audiences in her past concerts, which have emphasized show tunes with some classics woven in, but for this show, the classics will play a more prominent role.

“I’m excited to go back to my roots here and I’m really excited to introduce a terrific pianist, Dorothy, to the community,” she said.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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