Coro de Camara enchants audiences

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The group will perform a free concert in Los Alamos April 30

By Jennifer Garcia

A choral concert, “If Music Be the Food of Love, Sing On,” will be at 7 p.m. April 30 at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church’s Kelly Hall, 3900 Trinity Dr.

The concert, performed by Coro de Camara, will feature music from the Renaissance to today, including pieces from Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Durufle, Copland, Thompson and others.

The group does not charge admission to its performances, but donations are accepted at the door.
Coro de Camara is a chorus of the room (or chamber) as the Spanish name translates and is made up of a group of 16-24 vocalists, depending on the repertoire.

In their 28th season, Coro de Camara has been in Los Alamos since 1981. The group traces its beginning to a small group of singers formed by Jacob Evans. The group sang madrigals for the spring Los Alamos Choral Society concert in  1982.

Though the group has its roots in Los Alamos, they also have members from Santa Fe. In fact, half the rehearsals are held in Los Alamos and the other half in Santa Fe. They rehearse the first and third Thursday of the month at Kelly Hall, and the second and fourth Thursday in the City Different.

“The newly formed Los Alamos Madrigal Singers performed at a variety of local venues in the succeeding years until the Christmas 1984 concert. By that time Mr. Evans was commuting from Albuquerque, and he reluctantly retired from the group,” according to the Coro de Camara Web site.

“Steve Coggeshall became the director of the group under its new name, Los Alamos Chamber Ensemble, in 1985. The repertoire of the ensemble was broadened to include chamber choral works from the Renaissance to contemporary music, a tradition that continues today. The group performed several major works by American composers including ‘Mass in D’ by the early composer John Knowles Paine and ‘In the Beginning’ by Aaron Copland.

“In the fall of 1988 Rebecca Rollett became the director and a year later the name Coro de Cámara was adopted. With Rollett’s residence and musical presence in Santa Fe, the group began performing each concert in Los Alamos and Santa Fe. Under her direction a major work was performed each season and concerts often included small chamber orchestras. Two major highlights were the performances of Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ in 1994 at the Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe and Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ the following year in Santa Fe and Los Alamos.

The group saw a change in directors throughout the subsequent years until Catherine Robinson joined the group a few years ago.

Robinson, accompanied by Kelvin McNeal, still directs the group. However, the spring concert will be the last one under Robinson’s direction.

“She’s trying to finish her master’s (degree) at USC and is moving to Oregon to be closer to family,” said Coro de Camara Board President David Moore.

A search committee is being formed to find a replacement for Robinson.
Moore said the group is high-quality. Members had to audition and Robinson hand-selected the vocal types.

“She tries to maximize the interest of the music according to the level of musicians she had,” Moore said. “There are people in the group that have been singing forever.”

Because the group is small, Moore said that taking on huge works isn’t possible, but members can take on works that are technically challenging.

“I enjoy making music with friends and people with similar tastes,” Moore said. “It’s a way to connect both sides of my brain …”

The concert at TOTH will cover a wide variety of vocal styles and periods of music, so it will offer something for everyone.

For more information visit www.corodecamara-nm.org.