Annual Pahrump spring concert for High Desert Chorale

The arrival of spring means it’s time for a concert featuring the Pahrump Arts Council High Desert Chorale.

The group’s performance is set for 7 p.m., May 3 in the Pahrump Nugget Event Center.

As with its Christmas show, the choir is asking for a $5 donation or a non-perishable food item.

At the Christmas concert, the High Desert Chorale was able to fill 20 large grocery bags for the Veterans of Foreign Wars food pantry, Arts Council President Loretta Lindell said.

“We got a lot of food that night and it was a good response,” she said. “We like to rotate the food banks and this season it will go to a different one. The money goes back to the choir so they can purchase new music.”

Where does the chorale get its music?

The director, Andy Barnum, makes the choices on what to sing.

Barnum said he scours a website each season for appropriate music.

“A lot of times what we sing depends on our budget,” Barnum said. “Every concert, we use some music from our library.”

The library he is referring to is a collection of music that has been compiled for the High Desert Chorale over a 14-year period.

“Each season, about half of the music we sing is brand new,” the director said. “It fills about two filing cabinets.”

The chorale puts on two performances each year, one during Christmas and one during the springtime.

This spring the choir will sing a medley of old Disney favorites by Mac Huff. There will be songs from the hit musical “Mary Poppins,” “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty” and even “The Song of the South.”

Old-time favorites also are planned, such as “Amazing Grace” and “Jericho.”

“One of my favorites that we will be singing is a song called “Homeward Bound” arranged by Jay Althouse.

Barry Langendorf, who plays the piano for the ensemble and is a bass singer for the chorale, says his favorite piece for the concert is called “Flying Free” by Don Besig.

“It’s so lyrical and so soaring, or maybe I should say uplifting,” Langendorf said. “It just gives me a good feeling.”

Who can sing in the Chorale?

Denise Werner, a tenor in the choir said she has tons of experience singing for groups, but people don’t need a lot of experience to sing.

“I had voice lessons and sang for a lot of church groups,” she said. “But to sing for the chorale you don’t need experience. There are no requirements for the choir to sing. We will take anyone who enjoys singing and we require no audition to join.”

Langendorf agrees with Werner.

“Barnum likes to give people a chance,” he said. ” He will take almost anyone that can carry a tune. If a person can sing he is patient with them.”

The choir currently needs new singers, especially in the bass section.

Who is in the chorale?

The group has all walks of life in it. There are teachers, writers, engineers, accountants and many retired people, Werner said.

Werner and her husband retired from Southern California Edison. Werner has been singing for the chorale for six to seven years.

Werner said she joined after listening to the group sing at the Pahrump Nugget.

“Now, it is the thing I do on Thursday nights,” Werner said. “I love it, I really do. I really like the camaraderie one gets with singing with this group.”

Werner said the director, Barnum, puts a lot of work into the choir.

“I am so thrilled that Andy and his wife works so hard every week,” Werner said. “He puts so much effort into the music.”

Langendorf plays the piano for the ensemble and has for two years. He also has sung for the group for six years.

“Music has been a part of my whole life,” he said. “I have always thought it was a great way to worship, and I have played the organ for churches for years. I sing for this choir because music is my life, but I wasn’t a professional musician. I was an engineer.”

He said he has sung for all sorts of groups.

“I sang when I was in the National Guard, and I sang for a group in Saudi Arabia because the company I worked for was drilling for oil there. I just love to sing because it’s soul-satisfying.”

Contact reporter Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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