Community choir reborn; will perform at DWU SundayLaurie Ruby, of Mitchell, recalls performing with the Dakota Chorale community choir years ago. The group provided an opportunity for those who loved music and wanted to share their talents. But since it was disbanded in the late 1990s, Ruby said Mitchell has been lacking a proper venue for singers.
By: Jennifer Jungwirth, The Daily Republic
Laurie Ruby, of Mitchell, recalls performing with the Dakota Chorale community choir years ago.
The group provided an opportunity for those who loved music and wanted to share their talents. But since it was disbanded in the late 1990s, Ruby said Mitchell has been lacking a proper venue for singers.
“We’ve been missing that,” she said. “The big thing about being a music person, whether an elementary or high school teacher or if you play the organ at the church, is that you put forth all the time. But there’s no place you can go and be one of the group.”
Clint Desmond, a music professor at Dakota Wesleyan University and the choir’s director, wants to change that. Desmond is directing a community choir, which will perform at DWU’s Spring Concert Sunday.
The concert begins at 4 p.m. at the Sherman Center on campus. It is free and open to the public.
The idea of forming a community choir came to Desmond after organizing a men’s choir for the DWU winter concert.
“I got overwhelming participation,” he said.
That excitement and participation encouraged him to start a community choir. He said that in years past there were community choirs that collaborated with Dakota Wesleyan, but that has been absent for the past seven years.
“The university choir is still in the growing and rebuilding process, so I thought this would be a good time to get the community involved,” Desmond said.
Ruby is one of 20 singers in the community choir.
“This is a community group where people who love music can come and be a part of a group,” she said.
Sarah Whitlatch, the Kimball High School vocal instructor, also signed up for the choir.
“I was looking for some opportunities for my students to do more advanced work,” Whitlatch said.
She and her students have worked with Desmond in the past when he hosted an all-state choir workshop. With an open invitation to perform with Desmond and the collegiate musicians, Whitlatch said she jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s been a good challenge for my students,” she said. “They’re learning about sight readings and the (lyrics) are not in English, so that’s a stretch for them. This is a higher-level piece.”
The choir will be performing Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Within the work there are 12 movements. The choir sings nine of the movements. DWU students will sing the other three pieces, either as a duet or solo.
The choir rehearsed for about five weeks. Ruby said the rehearsals were demanding, but effective.
“He expected a lot of us. He expected us to know what he was talking about. We had to bring that pencil, mark that music, and do it right,” she said. “But by expecting us to do our best or better than our best, he has pulled together a group that’s going to do just wonderfully.”