Sierra Master Chorale’s May concerts celebrate new beginnings

April 19, 2019 – Spring is the season of growth and renewal. On Sunday, May 19 and Tuesday, May 21, InConcert Sierra presents the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra conducted by their new choral director Alison Skinner.

“The spring concert program is a celebration of life,” said Skinner. “In the first half, we will perform Gabriel Fauré’s ‘Requiem,’ a lovely work of beauty and comfort in the face of loss. The second half is about what we do with grief – celebrate the life we have now.”

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Ola Gjielo’s magnificent ‘Across the Vast Eternal Sky’ represents the phoenix rising out of the ashes; Aaron Copland’s masterpiece ‘The Promise of Living’ is a true gem about embracing life and sharing it with others; and Morten Lauridsen’s stunningly beautiful ‘Sure on This Shining Night’ celebrates the beauty of life and viewing it with new eyes, Skinner explains.

There are also a few rousing songs of praise, with a high-spirited Gospel piece ‘Let Everything that Hath Breath’ by Jeffrey Ames plus the amazing first movement of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms.’

“These works remind us how and why we celebrate the life we are living,” she said.

This is Skinner’s premier with the Sierra Master Chorale, following the retirement of founding choral director Ken Hardin in December 2018, and the choir is thriving under her leadership.

“Alison told us that the theme of our first concert with her was about suffering a death/loss/change followed by coping with the loss, overcoming it, and then thriving. I immediately felt that the theme was deeply resonant for our first concert without Ken as our director. What larger loss can a choir have than the loss of its founding (and deeply loved) director?,” said Baritone Steve Nicholson, whose been singing under Ken Hardin’s direction for 17 years.

“It was hard to imagine recovering from a loss like that. But Alison has been more than we ever could have hoped for in a new director. In the short time we’ve been with her the Sierra Master Chorale is, like the theme of our concert, coping, overcoming, and most of all, thriving. I hope I can sing under Alison for another 17 years.”

The 70-member all-volunteer Sierra Master Chorale rehearses for 13 weeks prior to the performances including two rehearsals with the orchestra, which will consist of twenty local and regional professional musicians.

“The choir enjoys her great sense of humor, exceptional skills both in leadership and choral conducting, and her willingness to allow the choir space as we transition through this change. We’re also finding her music choices challenging and engaging,” said Executive Director Julie Hardin who sings alto in the choir.

Solo voices for the ‘Requiem’ will be baritone Kevin Doherty, who is known by many as Capital Public Radio’s Morning Classical Host and Classical Content Coordinator; and boy soprano Bren Altenbach who is the talented 11-year-old son of concertmaster Richard Altenbach.

“Alison may have a surprise guest for the rousing spiritual finale, but my lips are sealed until then,” said Julie Hardin.

Tickets to the 2 p.m. May 19th and 7:30 p.m. May 21st performances are $38 for general admission, and $19 for youth ages 5-17. Tickets are available by phone at 530-273-3990, online at www.inconcertsierra.org or in person at BriarPatch Co-op, and at the door the day of the concert.

The performance will be at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley, 12889 Osborne Hill Road. For more information, please visit www.inconcertsierra.org or call 530-273-3990.