The Siskiyou Singers

The Siskiyou Singers are looking forward to their fall season. Rehearsals will begin 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 p.m.

The Siskiyou Singers present two concerts per year: one in December and another in May, with multiple performances. The group also sings at various community events, including the Feast of Will that marks the opening of the outdoor festival season in Ashland, the anniversary concert of Southern Oregon Concert Band, outreach 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. Guest conductor Mark Reppert describes the piece as not a typical Latin Mass. Poulenc endeavored to make it "a joyous hymn to the glory of God." 

"Our goal is to sing it with unabashed joy," Reppert said.

Other selections in the program include four Renaissance motets, holiday carols from around the world and several American spirituals.

The Siskiyou Singers was started 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 Oregon 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 it refers to a smaller ensemble). The Siskiyou Singers now has a total of 130 members, all of whom must pass an audition to join.

Marston's death on June 22 was a great loss to the Sisikiyou Singers, whom he had led for 21 years. Reppert will serve as guest conductor for the 2009-10 term. He studied conducting, composition, piano and music history at the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in music history. While there, he was a member of the University Symphony, the Opera Chorus and the Trojan Marching Band.  He received a master's degree in piano performance from California State University, Chico, graduating with distinction. He soloed with the Shasta Symphony as the winner of the Shasta Symphony Solo Competition and also with the Paradise Symphony and performed numerous solo recitals.

Reppert began his teaching career in Paradise, Calif., in 1975. Before moving to Southern Oregon, he taught for 23 years in California, teaching band, orchestra, elementary music, college music appreciation, community choir and high school and middle school choir. For 10 years, he held the position of choral director at North Medford High School.

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 or call 482-5290 or 482-6029.

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