Community Chorus rehearsals begin Sunday

PORT TOWNSEND — Rehearsals for holiday performances by the Community Chorus of Port Townsend and East Jefferson County will begin Sunday.

Registration will start at 5:30 p.m., with singing beginning at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Franklin St.

After Sunday, most rehearsals will be at the rehearsal home for the chorus, the fellowship hall at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1335 Blaine St.

Registration cost is $35. Registration closes Sept. 16.

Guest director Jonathan Stafford and assistant guest director Sarah Moran are set to share directorial duties for two winter concerts, Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.

Also joining the chorus staff is pianist Theresa Chedoen, who will accompany the singers.

All singers age 16 and older are invited to join the chorus.

No auditions are required and men are particularly encouraged to give it a try, organizers said.

One of the purposes of the Community Chorus is to provide a platform for those returning to choral music. People who might have sung in high school or college but haven’t since are welcome.

Chorus president Linda Atkins said she happily anticipates the new season.

“I am looking forward to working with our young and talented directors and excited to learn the music they choose for us.” she said.

“Singing together is a wonderful way to get into the community spirit and lend our voices to the beauty of the music.”

Stafford and Moran have selected a variety of holiday and seasonal choral literature, including Randall Thompson and John Rutter compositions and pieces by Gustav Holst and Joseph Haydn.

Stafford is no stranger to the Community Chorus. He has served as its associate conductor for the past two winter seasons. He said he can’t wait to see old friends and meet new singers this fall.

Among other goals, he said he is intent on honing the choir’s building blocks of vocal music and enhancing the musicianship of the group.

Stafford earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan in Flint in 2005, after which he taught briefly at Carmen Ainsworth Junior High in Flint, Mich. He also was church choir director at Flushing United Methodist Church during college. He and his mother, Colleen Johnson, co-conduct the local group the Summertime Singers.

Stafford describes himself as the proud father of two daughters, June and Jade. He is also a bartender and server at the Fireside restaurant in Port Ludlow.

“I’m fortunate to be sharing the podium with the talented and knowledgeable Sarah Moran,” Stafford said. “I believe our conducting styles and choral ideas will play off each other.

“I envision a concert where the contrasting styles excite audience and singers alike, building that excitement and creating an environment where we are making art together.”

Moran, a professional voice teacher and choir director for First Presbyterian Church in Port Townsend, said, “I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with the voices of the Community Chorus.”

Moran maintains voice studios in Seattle, Sequim and Port Townsend. She is a professional classical soprano, having performed with the Tacoma Opera, the Tacoma Symphony, Opera Quad Cities, Elgin Choral Union, Brevard Philharmonic, Galesburg Symphony, Opera Pacifica and Kitsap Opera.

She also performs as a member of Port Townsend’s Rainshadow Chorale.

Moran served on the faculties of Knox College and Monmouth College in Illinois, where she taught private voice and vocal pedagogy, and directed an opera workshop.

She is currently a doctoral candidate in voice performance at the University of Washington and lives in Chimacum with husband Gregory Lewis and her two children, Seamus and Cora.

Chedoen is a longtime pianist in Port Townsend, with numerous music and dramatic credits to her name, including providing piano and organ accompaniment at local churches, in the schools and for Key City Public Theatre.

For more information about the chorus, visit www.ptchorus.org or call 360-385-1402.

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