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Making music for 2009-10

As the summer months make way for autumn, musical groups in the Rogue Valley are getting ready for their 2009-10 seasons. Rehearsals will begin in September for performances in fall and winter, and the groups are always looking for new members. Anyone who would like to try out should contact the appropriate organization to arrange an audition.

The Siskiyou Singers will begin rehearsals at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, in Wesley Hall at the First Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St., Ashland. Auditions for experienced choral singers begin at 6 p.m. and new singers should be prepared to stay for the rehearsal. Registration for returning singers begins at 6:30.

The Siskiyou Singers present two annual concerts: one in December and another in May, with multiple performances. The group also sings at various community events including the Feast of Will, which marks the opening of the outdoor festival season in Ashland, the anniversary concert of Southern Oregon Concert Band, outreach programs in elementary schools and joint concerts with other local choral groups.

This year's winter concert is set for Dec. 5, 12 and 13 in Ashland and Grants Pass. "In Sweet Joy" is the title of the concert, from "In Dulci Jubilo," the Renaissance motet that will be featured in the program. The centerpiece of the concert will be the "Gloria" by Francis Poulenc.

The Siskiyou Singers were organized in 1982 by Jacqueline Dougherty, who served as the choir's director. The group was originally called the Siskiyou Chamber Singers.

In 1988, Dave Marston was concluding an 11-year association with the Shakespeare Festival as a musician when he took over the leadership of the Siskiyou Chamber Singers after Dougherty left the area. As the community choir grew in numbers it dropped the "Chamber Singers" title (since that term typically refers to a smaller ensemble). The Siskiyou Singers now has 130 members, all of whom must pass an audition to join.

Marston's death on June 22 was a great loss to the group he had led for 21 years.

Mark Reppert will serve as guest conductor for the 2009-10 term. Reppert studied conducting, composition, piano and music history at the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in music history. He received a master's degree in piano performance from California State University, Chico, graduating with distinction.

Reppert was musical director for the recent production of "Cabaret" at Camelot Theatre and will serve as music director for its December production of "Secret Garden." He has sung with the Rogue Valley Chorale and has accompanied both the chorale and the Jefferson State Choral Coalition.

See siskiyousingers.org or call 482-5290 or 482-6029.

The Southern Oregon Concert Band, conducted by Ted Dollarhide, will begin rehearsals from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Ashland Middle School, 100 Walker Ave., Ashland.

New players are welcome, and there are openings for musicians in all sections. There are no audition or age requirements, however players should be able to perform at a high school or college level.

The Southern Oregon Concert Band is a broad-based community band that rehearses and performs from September-May, giving free concerts and offering generations of local musicians the opportunity to perform as well as enhance their musical skills.

For more information, contact Ling Helphand, socbprez@charter.net or call 482-0615.

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir will hold its welcome night and orientation, essential for all new and returning members at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at Wesley Hall, behind the First United Methodist Church at 175 North Main St, Ashland.

The choir is especially looking for tenors and basses as it begins its seventh year of singing for peace. The group is a non-audition community choir, although the ability to match pitch is requested. Members commit to rehearsing from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from September to June.

The choir performs about 12 times per year. Its goal is to sing music that inspires the singers and their listeners to live and act in ways that promote peace, social justice, and responsible stewardship of the earth.

For information, contact membership@sing4peace.org or call 890-5670.

Mark Reppert will serve as guest conductor for the Siskiyou Singers for its 2009-10 term. - Siskiyou Singers