Tenor Mow hits holiday note at Sarett

Published 11:58 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

It’ll be sounding a lot like Christmas as Sarett Nature Center rings in the holidays on Saturday with a special holiday concert. Renowned tenor Paul Mow and a group of his musical friends will gather around the fireplace to sing a collection of seasonal favorites.

“This is our third concert at Sarett,” said Mow, “and it is simply a wonderful evening of traditional Christmas carols and songs sung by soloists and occasional duets or trios. We have eight to 10 fantastic young singers, as well as pianist Paul Flyger.”

A Coloma native, Mow is no stranger to Sarett. Sarett’s director, Chuck Nelson remembers Mow as a friend of his son, Jeff, and has been listening to him sing since the boys were fourth-graders.

“We’re very lucky to have him and his voice, and his personality,” Nelson said. “He just is a beautiful singer, and I can tell you, from time to time, he’s brought me to tears.”

This “force to be reckoned with,” as Nelson calls him, studied voice at the University of Michigan, but it was something of an afterthought. He already had a degree in political science, another in communications. But it was the degree in voice that carried him into the world of opera.

Five days after 9/11, Mow moved to New York for what would be a five-year stint with the New York City Opera. With this rich experience under his belt, Mow returned to Southwest Michigan to attend the University of Illinois, where he earned a master’s degree. He has spent the past five years in the area.

“I’ve been performing domestically and abroad. Recently, I’ve been doing more teaching and directing here in the area,” said Mow, who has just accepted a position as the new theater director at Southwestern Michigan College.

Mow will be joined on stage by fellow tenors Andrew Fisher, Leo Carmody and Josh Blair-Boger, soprano singer Meggie Anderson and mezzo-sopranos Alyson Snyder, Savannah Lents, Meg Simpson, Katie Preston, Haley Bolen and Lauren Glynn.

“It’s special to me on a lot of different levels,” said Mow. “Hopefully, my mother will be in the audience. It’s such a small town, it just feels like everybody is a part of my family.

“It’s one thing to do a concert for 400 people you sort of know; it’s another to do a concert for 100 people who all know you and had your parents for math in high school!”