Doylestown native and season one American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini surprised and delighted audience members with a powerful performance at the final concert of the 49th season of the Bucks County Choral Society Sunday, June 5, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Doylestown.
For this concert the Choral Society, led by Dr. Thomas Lloyd, was joined by The Philadelphia Heritage Chorale, led by Dr. J. Donald Dumpson. The scheduled soloist for the Heritage Chorale’s selection “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” was unable to sing, and so Dr. Dumpson made a last minute call to Guarini, who resides nearby.
After receiving a standing ovation for his soulful performance of Dumpson’s arrangement, Guarini shared with the audience how Dumpson conducted a middle school choral festival in Doylestown when Guarini was just 15. When Dumpson chose him to sing this same solo on that occasion, his vote of confidence proved pivotal at a time when Guarini was seriously considering a career in music.
The theme of the concert, “Back Together Again, Looking to the Future,” referred to the planned collaboration between the two groups that was delayed for two years because of the pandemic. Each group performed several pieces on their own, with the Choral Society focusing on a variety of national and folk songs from different parts of the world, and the Heritage Chorale performing music of the African diaspora.
The choirs joined forces to sing a newly-composed piece based on the words of the late Rep. John Lewis, titled “Make Some Noise, Get In Trouble (Good Trouble)” by Dr. Roland Carter, as well as a setting of “God Bless America,” arranged by Dr. Dumpson.
Visit the Choral Society’s website at buckschoral.org, where a video of the entire concert will be available soon.