Sierra Community Chorus
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Photo by Dante Fontana
Sir Paul McCartney once said, “I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork...
It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” That is what the Sierra Community Chorus has been doing for the last 20 years. They bring crowd-pleasing programs every spring and Christmas season to thousands of appreciative fans from across our region.
There are 80 singers, along with numerous instrumentalists, under the direction of Artistic Director/Director Lorin Miller. He has been leading the choir since 2003. Miller, an accomplished musician, enjoys his work with the group. “Music is an important part of our culture,” Miller explains. The group, along with a broad age base (23 years to 75 plus), is trans-generational with parents and grown children singing side by side. Also, there are many married couples that perform together. The group has also reached out beyond Placer County to neighboring counties for performers and audiences. “People work together, like a sports team, towards a common goal,” Miller says.
The youngest member, Ashleigh Gillette, who sings second alto, has been performing with the chorus for more than five years, since she was 18. “They are like family to me,” Gillette admits. “I love them and the music.” After she graduates from Sacramento State with her teaching degree, she will stay with the group. “It’s my hobby,” she says.
Bass singer and President Dick Frantzreb has been with the group since 1996. He considers many of the chorus members to be dear friends. “We all care about each other,” Frantzreb says. “There is no better way to build a relationship than to participate in a meaningful activity.” He sings the praises of both Miller and their accompanist Diana Murray-Tudsbury. “Lorin is the main engine for our success,” Frantzreb beams. “Diana is extremely accomplished and is a brilliant professional pianist.”
The chorus offers a blend of eclectic music that is classical, contemporary, fun and easy to listen to. “We want to ‘wow’ the audience,” Frantzreb says, “not make them work.” This month, for their spring 2011 program, they are offering That’s Entertainment…Broadway in Review – performed at Sierra College’s Dietrich Theatre and for the first time at Folsom Lake Community College’s Three Stages. At both performances, there will be medleys of songs from classics such as Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll & Hyde and Les Misérables to Wicked and even Disney-movie tunes.
Of course, no performance would happen without the dozen faithful volunteers that help with all of the evening and event details, from ticket sales to so much more. However, once you get into the theater, one of the performers will greet you and show you to your seat. The singers are also there to mingle after the performance. “It is very satisfying to have personal contact with the audience,” Frantzreb says.
For more information, visit sierrachorus.org.