Truckee Community Chorus hits high note
August 28, 2007
As the woman in nurse scrubs and the man wearing a long beard and a Harley Davidson T-shirt finished singing the stanza, the Truckee music director asked them and the group of nearly 50 other choir students to enunciate the lyrics.Oh, that was the most wimpy S Ive ever heard, said co-director Susan Horst. Try it again and this time I want you to spit on me. No one actually spat or even tried, but Horst, the co-director of the Truckee Community Chorus since January, made her point as the students laughed. And, as the next line ended, the singers hissed like a snake, eliciting smiles from their vocal coaches.According to founding director Chris Nelson, Horsts co-director, he organized the Truckee Community Chorus in the spring of 2002 with the support of the Sierra Mountainaires Barbershop Chorus and funding from the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. Sierra Colleges Community Life Long Learning Institute and Sierra College at Truckee have continued funding the choral group. Like its funding, the class is a hybrid of a community college course and an adult learning course both offered through Truckees Sierra College.The choral group is made up of 50 singers from all walks of life, who have in the past included students from Alder Creek Middle School, Sierra College and adult students and singers from Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. [I am here] because I love to sing more than anything in life, said Fran Sandwith, a CalTrans employee from Kingsvale.This years singers range in age from high school to forever, Horst said. She added that managing such a diverse group holds challenges, like dealing with an individuals commitment to the group or keeping everyone interested despite widely varying abilities.
It is challenging to keep it exciting for all of the members of the group, Horst said.The choir is now able to take on more difficult pieces of music, said Nelson, because the choir has matured musically. This year the choir will perform a challenging piece of Vivaldi selections from the composers sacred work, Gloria, during its holiday concerts on Dec. 8 and 9. Other selections on the choirs holiday program will range from the Romantic period to tunes from the Jazz era.My debut was last spring with Schuberts Mass, and it was a great success, Horst said. We really raised the bar of the group.Horst said she may eventually take full control of the group because Nelson keeps promising to retire, telling her he is developing age irresponsibility, and hinting at a desire to play more golf.This falls first choir practice included visitors from other countries when Lisa Abrams, a host mother to foreign-exchange students in the American Scandinavian Student Exchange program, brought seven students from as far away as Japan to sing with the group.Krissy Gilbert, who works for the Sierra Business Council and Sierra Community College, said she loves singing and describes the choral participants as a friendly group without pretense.There are people that have sung with the Oakland Philharmonic and people that have never picked up a sheet of music in their lives, and we all make beautiful music together, Gilbert said.