We'd be remiss if we didn't pause to comment on the tremendous Cherokee Symphony Concert Sunday at the beautifully renovated Cherokee Community Center.
As always, the symphony performance was magnificent, as the packed house marveled at the stunning, professional sounds filling the Community Center Hall for 90 minutes of joyous, error-free music.
We pray we never take for granted the immense talents of Cherokee Symphony Conductor, Maestro Lee Thorson, and the 60 supremely skilled musicians from across Northwest Iowa who devote their time and talents to the Midwest's "Best-kept secret."
It is mind-boggling, knowing that they practice together just a few times before a peformance, and are then able to play their instruments so flawlessly and so together (the young people call it "tight"). This is an ultimate credit to the skills of Thorson and his musicians to bring it all together into a succulent stream of riveting music that leaves one humming the tunes the rest of the day.
Sunday's popular "Pops Concert" was a home run out of the park thanks to the symphony, Thorson, and special guest vocalist Gabrielle Maren, an Early native now living in Rock Rapids, and former Nashville, Tenn. resident, where she polished her incredible singing voice.
Gabrielle, as easy on the eyes as she is on the ears, is the daughter of Jay and Anita Coon of Storm Lake, and launched her professional musical career at age 17 by touring the world with the internationally acclaimed "Up With People."
Sunday, Maren held the large crown spellbound with her song selections from "Les Miserables" and a Symphonic Portrait of timeless Irving Berlin hit songs. She also performed with local guitarist extraordinaire Mike Hoover and symphony violinist Laura Bernhardt on one of Maren's original songs from her newest CD, "Between A Tear And A Smile."
Then, when Maren nailed the show shut with "God Bless America" and the "National Anthem," the spontaneous standing ovation lasted several minutes before vacuuming Maren, Thorson, and Hoover back into the Hall for their well-deserved encore bows to a gracious, appreciative, totally entertained SRO crowd.
The Cherokee Symphony - one of this community's most vibrant sparkling stars.