Meet Alison Skinner: Sierra Master Chorale’s new chorale director

SPRING IS THE SEASON OF 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 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.”

Ola Gjielo’s “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 beautiful “Sure on This Shining Night” celebrates the beauty of life and viewing it with new eyes, she explains.

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

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

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

The 70-member, all-volunteer Sierra Master Chorale rehearses for 13 weeks prior to the performances, including two rehearsals with the orchestra, consisting of 20 regional professional musicians.

“The choir enjoys her great sense of humor, and exceptional skills in leadership and choral conducting,” said Executive Director Julie Hardin, who sings alto in the choir.

“We’re also finding her music choices challenging and engaging.”

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

Tickets to the performances are $38 for general admission and $19 for youth ages 5-17. Tickets are available at InConcertSierra.org, BriarPatch Co-op and at the door on the day of the concert.

The concert is at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley, 12889 Osborne Hill Road. Visit InConcertSierra.org or call 530-273-3990 for more information.

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