COSHOCTON -- Lead On! is the theme of the Coshocton Community Choir's 45th anniversary Spring Concert on Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. at Coshocton High School's McKinley Auditorium. There are over 200 musicians from throughout central Ohio participating in this concert including the adult choir; The Coshocton Singers; the Coshocton Youth Chorale; instrumentals Dickie Barrick and Mark Wagner on piano; Haley Evans, trumpet; Ron Geese, euphonium; Tom McLeish, timpani; and the Roscoe Brass Quintet - Don Kason and Ricky Harvey, trumpet; Joan Kason, horn; Keith Watson, trombone; and Steve Hildreth, tuba.

The choir's founder and director, Charles R. Snyder says this significant anniversary is a time to remember the choir's history and give thanks for all those singers and patrons who have made these first 45 years of song possible.

"Of course, I had no idea in 1971 how long the choir might continue, but I certainly didn't foresee being the leader for so many years," said Snyder. "What a joy it's been! This anniversary is also a time to rededicate ourselves for the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. The concert theme, Lead On! is a way to remind ourselves and the community that, God willing, we plan to be part of the cultural fabric here for years to come."

Snyder says it was a challenge to program this concert since there were so many possibilities to celebrate the 45th anniversary.

"The two songs that we've sung the longest over the years are our traditional spring processional, St. Theodulph's Hymn, sung since 1983, and Peter Lutkin's The Lord Bless You and Keep You, which has been sung as the concluding blessing since 1984," said Snyder.

Snyder shares that the choir is excited to sing the world premire of Richard C. Johnston's He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word.

"Mr. Johnston was one of my professors at Capital University, and has been a mentor ever since," said Snyder. "It's a demanding original a cappella composition using the familiar text and features a bass soloist. Mr. Johnston told me that not many choirs have the low basses needed to sing this piece. We are fortunate that we do. Another new piece for us is Ren Clausen's lush arrangement of Nearer, My God to Thee, which we will sing as we remember all former members who are now singing on the other side."

Snyder felt it was important to choose for this concert some of the choir's favorites from over the years, like Christian Gregor's Hosanna, and Paul Christiansen's settings of The King of Love, and Rocka-a Ma Soul, as well as more recent favorites like Cary Ratcliff's Come to the Water, and Eric Nelson's arrangement of It Is Well.

"We will also be singing Resurrection by Leland Sateren, another of my teachers, and the rhythmic Psalm 46 by my friend, John Ness Beck," shared Snyder. "I've included Garry Cornell's Alleluia, and several of Paul Christiansen's works since those two composers have played a vital part in the inspiration and development of the Coshocton Community Choir."

A number of Community Choir alumni will be invited to join in the final set, which begins with Bach's familiar Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, and concluding with Hallelujah from Handel's Messiah, which is especially significant since Messiah was the choir's musical 'menu' for the first few seasons. "We have 752 Coshocton Community Choir alumni; and with the current Choir members, that makes 841 singers who've been part of the choir over the years!" said Snyder. "Current choir member, Julie Smith, was in the first Coshocton Community Choir and 30 members of the current choir have sung 20 years or more - and 11 of those have been with the Choir for more than 30 years. Judy Pingle has sung the longest at 39 years!"This year is also the 29th year for The Coshocton Singers (founded as the Coshocton Children's Choir). In addition to their part in the program, alumni will be invited to join the current choir in singing two traditional pieces."Two members of the very first group of the Coshocton Children's Choir have singers in the current Choir: Kiera McPeck and Lydia Black are daughters of Kirsten Brown McPeck; and Sydney and Dannan Stewart are daughters of Heather Miller Stewart."

It's the 14th edition of the Coshocton Youth Chorale. In addition to singing their own set before intermission, they'll be joining the Community Choir in singing Paul Christiansen's arrangement of On Our Way Rejoicing. The Youth Chorale will conclude their season with their own concert at Roscoe United Methodist Church on May 27.

The Coshocton Community Choir's Spring Concert Lead On! takes place on Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. at Coshocton High School's McKinley Auditorium, located at 1205 Cambridge Road in Coshocton. Tickets for the Lead On! concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the door, on the choir website www.CoshoctonCommunityChoir.org or by calling Business Manager, Lee Bown at 740-622-3960.