Farmington choral groups plan evening of royal fun with April 19 concert

Caliente Community Chorus, San Juan College Concert Choir will perform together for first time

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The Caliente Community Chorus performs the song "Hail Holy Queen" during a concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington. The group will perform the song again during its April 19 show in Farmington.
  • The program "Kings, Queens, Coronations and Crowns" will feature music related to royalty.
  • It will be performed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 19 at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington.
  • Tickets are $10 at the door.

FARMINGTON — Even though the Caliente Community Chorus and the San Juan College Concert Choir have never performed together, the joint concert the two organizations have planned for early next week is not the most ambitious undertaking in their history, according to their longtime director.

"But I might consider it the most diverse," said Virginia Nickels-Hircock, who leads both choirs.

The program "Kings, Queens, Coronations and Crowns" will feature music related to royalty. Caliente originally was scheduled to perform the show in the spring of 2020, but the concert was tabled by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Nickels-Hircock is very excited that its time finally has come.

"It is just a fun program," she said. "It is all based on music for kings or queens or about them or by them or just related them, like Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' We also have a string quartet, a trumpet trio and a drummer. We have more instrumentalists than we've ever had."

The San Juan College Concert Choir traditionally performs a concert of its own each spring, but the group has seen its membership decline because of the pandemic. Nickels-Hircock came up with the idea of organizing a joint concert between her two choral groups because she said the San Juan College Concert Choir would not be able to perform a challenging program like this on its own because of its depleted numbers.

The Caliente Community Chorus performs a song from its fall 2021 concert "Struggle." The organization will be joined by the San Juan College Concert Choir for its spring concert on Tuesday, April 19.

The program features material by the likes of Handel and Mozart, but it also features the aforementioned rock anthem "Bohemian Rhapsody," the pop tune "Royals" by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde and even the disco hit "Dancing Queen" by ABBA. It also includes "Hail, Holy Queen" from the film "Sister Act" and the jazz standard "Someday My Prince Will Come" by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey that was adapted for the animated Disney classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

"It's a lovely mix of serious music that was meant for royalty and music that was meant for us to have fun with," Nickels-Hircock said. "And I love that we're mixing so many instruments into the program."

Nickels-Hircock said she was ready for a more lighthearted program after Caliente returned to action last fall with a program built upon a theme of struggle.

"We did our serious stuff, and now we're just having fun," she said.

When the program had to be cancelled two years ago, Nickels-Hircock said she and the members of Caliente already had put a great deal of work into what is technically a very challenging program.

"I was sick about having to cancel it," she said. "But, of course, the world shut down. We were so close to performance."

Caliente members who have remained with the group since then quickly fell back into form with the material for this concert, she said, and they are impatient to show what they can do with it.

"After a while, it does get rather old," Nickels-Hircock said of waiting for a concert date two years in the making. "We are ready to perform."

The concert will open with a three-song instrumental prelude and conclude with a rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah!" The performance itself will be augmented by its "mistress of prose," Elizabeth Fleming, who will recite the program notes in a regal manner in keeping with the spirit of the event, Nickels-Hircock said.

"Kings, Queens, Coronations and Crowns" is sponsored by Walsh Engineering & Production, Epic Energy Services LLC and NueVida Resources LLC. It will be performed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 19 at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington, 865 N. Dustin Ave. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 505-486-4188.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.