Community choir seeking musicians

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not.”

This quote from George Bernard Shaw easily represents the dream of Jerry Yonkman. Crossing economic, racial and social boundaries with music is nothing new.

But it is new for our community. At 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, Dr. Yonkman will begin rehearsals for the Natchez Community Choir. Rehearsals will take place at First Presbyterian Church, 400 State St. (in Stratton Chapel). All are welcome!

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Dr. Yonkman received a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and both master and doctor of music degrees from Indiana University, where his major mentors included Julius Herford, Robert Porco, Margaret Hillis and Robert Shaw.

He has attended master classes with Leonard Bernstein and collaborated with Vance George. Dr. Yonkman served for four years as director of choral activities at the Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho, where he conducted the Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers and Oratorio Chorus.

He was also music director of the Washington-Idaho Symphony Chorale and Chamber Choir, and appeared as guest conductor of the Washington-Idaho Symphony Orchestra.

From 1991-1994, Dr. Yonkman was director of choral activities at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

He has served as visiting faculty member at University of Indianapolis and at Denison University in Ohio.

Dr. Yonkman was conductor and music director of the Bach Chorale Singers and Orchestra in Lafayette, Ind., from 1988-1994, where he conducted many of the major works for chorus and orchestra.

In association with the Bach Chorale Singers, Dr. Yonkman collaborated with musicians from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. An active adjudicator and clinician, Dr. Yonkman has conducted and adjudicated festival choirs in Indiana, Kansas, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Nevada and Washington.

Natchez is quite blessed to have a musician such as Jerry Yonkman donating his time and talents to organize and direct a community choir.

Again, all are welcome. The ability to read music is not a requirement, but always appreciated. Sometimes a good musical ear is far and away enough compensation. There is strength in numbers.

I hope to see you there!

Becky Meason Jones is the music director at First Presbyterian Church.