WBIR anchor emeritus Bill Williams received a loud round of applause when he was introduced as emcee at the Knoxville Choral Society concert on Saturday night. In her introduction, KCS president Angie France mentioned that Williams and Edye Ellis were behind the anchor desk last Monday for WBIR’s retro newscast, in honor of the 30th anniversary of their Straight From the Heart slogan.
My wife is a member of the Choral Society. The full choir bookended the concert with two fantastic pieces. They opened with five Lenten choruses from Handel’s “Messiah.” They closed the show with an outstanding performance of “Te Deum” by contemporary composer Dan Forrest.
Bill Williams introduced and interviewed the three winners of the Young Classical Musicians Competition. Instrumental winner John Paul Powers played Rodney Newton’s “Capriccio for Tuba.” Keyboard winner Isabelle Kashia Lee played Frederick Chopin’s “Polanaise in C minor, Op. 40, No. 2.” Vocal winner Thomas Lowell West IV sang J.S. Bach’s “Grosser Herr, O Starker König.”
In the middle of West’s stellar aria, the auditorium at the Knoxville Convention Center was plunged into darkness for a moment. We all assumed that the power had gone out. West was unfazed. He resumed the song, and was not even distracted by the spontaneous applause. When he finished, Williams expressed the amazement we were all feeling. Only later did my wife learn that a member of the elite chamber chorale had accidentally doused the lights when she leaned on the wall. The guilty party owned up to it in her Facebook status. She wrote, “Someone ought to put a guard over that light switch!!”