Parrish's Voices in the Wilderness prepare for Swing into Spring concert

jajones1@bradenton.comMarch 30, 2014 

PARRISH -- The Voices in the Wilderness make such sweet music.

For weeks now, the 40-member River Wilderness singers have been rehearsing songs from the Swing Era for their April 6 concert, under the batons of co-directors Pauline "Polly" Boston and Rod Jackson.

After polishing off a rehearsal of "Chattanooga Choo Choo" recently, Jackson offered a gentle critique.

"I think that went pretty well. When going from the mezzo forte to the forte, don't sing too loud," Jackson said.

To non-singers, that advice may sound like just so much Italian, which it is.

But members of The Voices understood that Jackson was talking about emphasis and pace, as well as modulation. The singers take directions from Boston and Jackson seriously, if cheerfully. It helps them achieve a full, polished and harmonious sound, making for sheer listening pleasure.

Jackson has a math and computer background and a lifelong love of music. In the 1960s, he was in a teen band playing keyboards and performing songs by the Young Rascals, the Animals and The Beatles. Later, he directed church choruses.

Boston started taking piano lessons at age 6 and in college had to decide between majoring in music or art.

Ultimately, the decision was easy. She settled on music, earning a masters in music education.

"I couldn't go a day without playing the piano," she said.

"I grew up on swing music. My parents loved to dance and loved swing music," she said.

This year's Swing into Spring Concert focuses on classics like "Swingin' on a Star," "Night and Day," "Tuxedo Junction" and "Long Ago and Far Away."

In addition, cantor and guest soloist Harold Orbach will perform a Tribute to America.

Each year, the 9-year-old group chooses a new theme for the year.

Last year, the songs were drawn from the 1950s and '60s.

The Swing into Spring concert is set for 7 p.m. April 6 at the River Wilderness Country Club. The suggested donation is $5 at the door. The public is invited.

The next time the public will have an opportunity to hear The Voices is this fall at their concert at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Parrish.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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