Tricie Callaghan-Stover, piano accompanist and secretary on the board of directors, said this year the choir is spectacular.
“We have four generations in our chorus with 90 people in the adult chorus and 34 kids in the youth choir ranging in age from 9 to age 87,” Callaghan-Stover said. “We have a whole bunch of families with three generations in the adult choir and grandchildren in the children’s choir, it’s a pretty cool thing.
“I cannot believe how many 80-year-olds we have in the chorus, who are still singing,” she said. “They can read music like fiends and hold pitch. We want them with us forever. Laurie Burnham was one of the founding members 47-years ago, it is pretty impressive.”
Callaghan-Stover it is truly a Bitterroot Valley Chorus. As secretary she has been tracking the demographics and more than half of the chorus lives outside of the Hamilton zip code. The youth choir is comprised of singers from public school, private school and homeschool.
“We made a big push to outreach to those kids,” Callaghan-Stover said. “They love it because they get to meet other kids who love music and sing Christmas music together.”
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Peggy Bucheit is the conductor of both the youth and adult chorus.
“We are so fortunate to have our professional conductor, Peggy Bucheit, at our helm,” Callaghan-Stover said. “Peggy is the inspiration for the musical programming of the annual Chorus presentation. Very few small community choruses such as ours have the blessing of a talent like Peggy's. She is our fearless leader, our musical inspiration and keeps everything relevant to our audiences. She is truly a gift to all of us.”
This year the concert music has a theme of “stars,” last year it was “anticipation” with the youth acting out the “Messiah” and waiting for the manger and the Christ child.
In addition to pianist Callaghan-Stover, local musicians will be performing with the chorus including percussionist Jack Barnings, violinist/coloratura soprano Tasha Athman Fain and a contribution by violinist Tim Fain who arranged one of the carols for two violins with Tasha and piano.
“Tasha's mother, Terese, sings in our adult chorus and Tasha and Tim's daughter, Katia, sings with our youth choir,” Callaghan-Stover said. “They personify the beauty and richness of the multi-generational composition of our Bitterroot Valley Chorus and we are so grateful for their commitment to our Chorus.”
The concert is free, thanks to local sponsors. Arriving early is recommended as last year 40 community members were turned away due to a full house with no additional seating available.
“It is a privilege and honor to be a part of this amazing musical organization,” Callaghan-Stover said. “We have an amazing performing arts community in the valley and this is the premier choral group that has been here 47 years. We do this as a gift to the community, it is fun and an inspirational experience.”
Bitter Root Valley Chorus performances are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center, 327 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton.