40th anniversary celebration
A Look Back at Taos Community Chorus
Anna Mae Patterson
What do a woodworker, a secretary, a government employee, an artist, a midwife, a plumber, a teacher, a priest, an actress – and many others – have in common? Singing! These volunteers joined their individual voices together to learn, practice, practice, practice, and perform beautiful and uplifting choral music. This is the Taos Community Chorus.
TCC grew from a small group of women and men who loved to do musical theater and madrigals and choral singing in the late 70’s – early 80’s: West Side Story; Guys and Dolls; Godspell; Fiddler on the Roof; Fantastiks; Amahl & the Night Visitors.
Soon Susan Berman and a group of musicians formed the Taos Community Orchestra. They invited singers to join them. The partnership between the Taos Community Orchestra and Chorus lasted more than 30 years. I will never forget our Concertmaster Tom coming with his violin & music – the only possessions he saved from his home burned to the ground in the Los Alamos wildfire – to play the fall concerts in Taos.
There have been as few as 20 members and as many as 100 singers in one season. Usually two seasons – Fall, Sept – December; and Spring, Jan – May. Singers learn many languages for the variety of music sung: classical, folk, world, popular, musicals.
There are legends here too: Kip Pond, accompanist, for two decades; Anne Martin who conducted both groups; Betsy Shauer who drove from Alamosa CO every week for 2 years to lead the Chorus; Bob Draper who has 63 seasons of singing or conducting TCC – the record; and Lynn Copeland, a soprano who also led the Presbyterian Church choir and who stepped in two weeks or so before one season’s concerts began and ably led our performances.
Individual dues, business sponsorships, generous individuals and grants from the New Mexico Arts, and private foundations have provided the money for TCC, a 501c3, organization. TCC budgets are very modest; every penny is used carefully!
Over the years TCC has performed as far from Taos as Clayton, Raton and Mora in NM, and Alamosa in CO. Frequent venues have been Dixon, Arroyo Seco, Angel Fire, Red River and Taos.
Ask any singer and you will hear his/her indelible memories of joy, tears, and delight through difficult and deeply meaningful performances! Here’s to another 40 years!
Spring: Mozart Requiem
Fall: Judas Maccabaeus