Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Caritas get a little bit 'Wicked'

Annual food, wine and music benefit held this Sunday

Express Staff Writer

Dick Brown will lead his band of singers across Elkhorn's green grasses this Sunday.

Enjoy an intimate evening of Chilean sea bass, wine and live music in elegant surroundings, sprinkled with a little something wicked.

For $150 per person, settle into the luxury in one of five Elkhorn homes, tuck into a five-course gourmet meal and listen to the pitch perfect notes of Caritas Chorale.

This special dinner event, which will be Sunday, Sept. 17, is the sixth annual benefit for the valley-based singing group.

Founded by Dick Brown, a Mississippi native, Caritas Chorale present free chorale music concerts year-round in the Wood River Valley. Last year they performed a commissioned piece for the anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's passage through Idaho, titled "Immence Ranges of High Mountains." Brown is also the choir director at St. Thomas Episcopal Church and teaches music composition at The Community School.

Called "It's A Grand Night For Singing," the benefit will begin at 6:30 p.m.

"As usual we'll have entertainment at each house," said Brown. "One house will feature a string quartet, one a string jazz group, one a harp and flute duo, and then two pianists. A nucleus of the choir will go from house to house performing with the resident musicians, who are predominantly from the Boise philharmonic."

The musical selection chosen by Brown features music from the hit Broadway show "Wicked," along with selections from "The Producers" and "a really neat arrangement of 'A Bridge Over Troubled Water.'"

Brown picked the music for purely selfish reasons. "To be real honest I'm doing stuff I like. I've reached that point in my life where I can do what I like."

"Wicked" is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, adapted from Gregory Maguire's novel based on the life of aforementioned witch before she ran into Dorothy and her little dog, too.

"It's wonderful," continued Brown. "It's a huge hit and is full of incredible songs. We'll do a 20-minute arrangement of all the songs from the show. It's actually very difficult musically and is one of the hardest things we've ever tried."

"We're trying to raise money for our operating expenses," said Brown. "This coming February, 24 and 25, we will perform Mozart's Great C Minor Mass with orchestra and soloists. The 24th happens to be my 60th birthday, so I'll celebrate it with Mozart. If I live that long.

"Starting Sept. 19 we will begin rehearsals on the Mozart, and we encourage anyone (who would like to sing with the group) to come join us at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on that Tuesday at 7 p.m."

For reservations for Sunday's event call Gretchen Boe at 622-5632. For more information about the event call Nicole Brown at 720-7188.

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