The North Valley Chamber Chorale was formed in the fall of 2010. Initial membership included 28 singers for its inaugural concert, Sing a New Song, on November 6 at Faith Lutheran Church. This concert featured a variety of choral pieces including Renaissance motets by Orlando di Lassus, Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, and Josquin des Prez, works by Georg Philipp Telemann and Giovanni Battista Martini, two of the Five English Folksongs of Ralph Vaughan Williams, and The Songs of the Prospector by Stephen Chatmann. The 2010-2011 season also included a recital titled Romantic Masterworks on Sunday, April 8 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, featuring local instrumentalists and singers performing the works of Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann, and a spring concert by the NVCC in the sanctuary of Bidwell Presbyterian Church featuring God is Gone Up by Gerald Finzi, Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and the Magnificat of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The second season, 2011-12, began with Love, Death, and Revenge, a recital of opera arias and duets performed by Chico resident and tenor Vincent Chambers, soprano Carrie Hennessey, and pianist Robert Ashens on August 26 at Faith Lutheran Church. The NVCC presented its first concert of the season, Shakespeare in Song, on Sunday, November 6 at First Baptist Church. This concert featured compositions that set the text of William Shakespeare, including In Windsor Forest and Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Music to Hear by the jazz composer George Shearing, and Three from Shakespeare by David Dickau. On Sunday, March 18 at Faith Lutheran Church, a recital titled Mozart and More was presented by sopranos Daun Weiss and Dara Scholz, Russell Burnham and Cara Okano Herrick on piano, flautist Mary Alice Kolko, guitarist Warren Haskell, and violinist Matt Raley. Works by Mozart, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Matyas Seiber, Francis Poulenc, and Russell Burnham were performed. The 2011-2012 season concluded with a concert by the NVCC on Sunday, April 29 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church featuring Johann Sebastian Bach’s motet Jesu Meine Freude and the Missa Sancti Bernardi von Offida in B (commonly known as the Heiligmesse) by Franz Joseph Haydn.
For the 2012-13 season the chorale presented its first annual Christmas concert, titled Welcome the Child: Christmas with the North Valley Chamber Chorale. This concert celebrating the season of Advent and Christmas was held at Bidwell Presbyterian Church on December 1 and 2, and included anthems, congregational carols, and readings by several local pastors of various denominations. The North Valley Chamber Singers, a group of 15 singers from the main chorale, participated in the Chico Bach Festival on March 16 with a performance of Giovanni Pergolesi’s psalm setting Confitebor tibi Domine. The season concluded with a concert titled From Darkness Into Light held at Evangelical Free Church of Chico. This concert included two cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (Aus der Tiefen (Out of the Depths), BWV 131, and Komm, du süsse Todesstunde, (Come, Sweet Death) BWV 161), Pergolesi’s Confitebor tibi Domine, several movements from Bach’s arrangement of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, (Tilge, höchster, meine sünden, BWV 1083), and the Spatzenmesse of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, commonly known as the “Sparrow Mass.”
The 2013-14 season began with a performance of the Mozart Requiem on October 27 in the sanctuary of Bidwell Presbyterian Church. The solo singers for the performance include Dara Scholz, Heidi Waterman, Vincent Chambers, and Dr. Robert Knight, with the orchestra comprised of instrumentalists from around the North State. The CSU, Chico Chamber Singers joined forces with NVCC for the Requiem performance. NVCC then once again presented a lessons and carols service, Before the Marvel of This Night, on December 1. This year the concert was presented twice, with an abbreviated version specifically for families with young children at 5:00 and the complete concert at 7:00. The spring concert on April 14, An American Tapestry, included music by Randall Thompson, Cecil Effinger, and Aaron Copland, with the featured piece of the concert being Fern Hill, by John Corigliano. This work included a small string orchestra comprise of local instrumentalists and highlighting Daun Weiss as the soprano soloist.
The 2014-15 concert season began with the annual lessons and carols service, titled What Star is This, on Saturday, December 20, with the shortened family friendly service at 4:00 and the full concert at 7:00. Unlike the previous Christmas concerts, this service began with a multi-movement work, Conrad Susa’s Carols and Lullabies; Christmas in the Southwest, with Candace LiVolsi on harp, Paul Herrick on marimba, and Warren Haskell on guitar. The concert also included selections sung by the North Valley Youth Choir which had been formed in the fall of the year, directed by Dara Scholz and sponsored by NVCC. The spring concert on Sunday, April 19 included J.S. Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV #4 (Christ lay in death’s bonds) and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (Mass for times of distress), commonly referred to as The Lord Nelson Mass. For this concert, NVCC welcomed soloists Dara Scholz, soprano, Celeste Winant, alto, Timothy Westerhaus, tenor, and John Bischoff, bass.
2015-16 saw the chorale take a major step forward as it was added to the season of Chico Performances with a presentation of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 20. Soloists included Dara Scholz, Hannah Ludwig, and Robert Knight, and due to the invited tenor soloist being ill, Dr. Scholz sang the tenor solos. This concert saw one of the few times that the 1,200 seat Laxson Auditorium was virtually sold out. The spring concert on Sunday, April 3 saw a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah, with baritone Robert Knight singing the role of the title character. The choir consisted of both NVCC and the CSU, Chico Acappella Choir, who were joined by Knight, tenor Dan Ebbers, soprano Daun Weiss, and alto Heidi Waterman.
In 2016-17 the chorale returned to a lessons and carols service titled This Christmastide, once again at Bidwell Presbyterian Church, on Saturday, December 17. A family friendly concert as well as a full-length concert were offered. In the spring, NVCC again joined forces with the CSU, Chico Acappella Choir to present the Brahms Requiem, with a professional orchestra and soloists Robert Knight, baritone, and soprano Dara Scholz.
Two performances of Handel’s Messiah, again as part Chico Performances in Laxson Auditorium, began the 2017-18 season on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17. Soprano Dara Scholz, alto Hannah Ludwig, and baritone Robert knight returned as soloists, with David Powell joining them on the tenor solos. The spring concert featured Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War) also referred to as the Paukenmesse (Kettledrum Mass) due to the solo part for the timpani in the final movement. In addition to the solos in the mass, soloists Dara Scholz, Daun Weiss, Timothy Westerhaus and Ryan Downey, joined by David Scholz and Rachel Gallagher, also performed as an ensemble, performing Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir. Monteverdi’s Lamento della Ninfa (Lament of the Nymph) was also performed by Dara Scholz, David Scholz, Timothy Westerhaus, and Ryan Downey.
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