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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment January 22, 2018

11/21/2017 12:34:00 PM
Sisters chorale has new director
Connie Gunterman, new Sisters High Desert Chorale director, and chorale pianist Donna Moyer preparing for the weekly Monday night rehearsal at The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.  photo by Jim Anderson
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Connie Gunterman, new Sisters High Desert Chorale director, and chorale pianist Donna Moyer preparing for the weekly Monday night rehearsal at The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson

The Sisters High Desert Chorale came under new direction this spring when Connie Gunterman was chosen as choral director following the retirement of Irene Liden. Connie brings over 25 years of choral-conducting experience.

"I grew up in a musical family in rural Kentucky, where music was always a part of my life," she said. "My mom's family formed a regional gospel quartet, and my earliest memories have a soundtrack of four-part harmony. Music gave me opportunities and challenges that have shaped my personality and attitude."

Gunterman's first directing experience began early. As a junior in high school she was student conductor for both the school chorus and pep band.

"My small high school had no football, soccer, or even a track team; but we did have basketball, and the pep band played at every home game," she recalled. "I had wanted to be drum major for the marching band but wasn't selected because the suit didn't fit me - so the job went to a tall drummer! It was even better for me when I was picked to be the conductor for the pep band."

Gunterman sang in the Kentucky All State Chorus during her junior and senior years and fell in love with big chorus sound. After high school, she attended the University of Kentucky, majoring in music. During her junior year, she was selected student conductor for the University Chorus where she had the opportunity to conduct a group of over 100 voices.

While in college Connie married a future Air Force officer and during the next 23 years, with the dozen household moves that a military life requires, she raised her family, worked various jobs, obtained a business degree from Sacramento State University, and pursued a career in the electrical utilities industry working in human resources and training.

Never losing touch with her love for music, she directed multiple community choirs and theatre groups in several states, and overseas in England and South Korea.

"Every Air Force base and community offered me a unique and exciting musical opportunity to either participate in or direct choral groups," she said.

Connie and her husband, Joe, moved to Tollgate in Sisters in 2007. They have two sons and two grandchildren who live in Oregon and Ohio. She loves the area, especially the blue sky, towering trees and gentle people.

Her hobbies include arranging music, cooking, camping, and kokanee fishing. She is an underwater photographer and certified SCUBA divemaster.

"I'm really looking forward to the chorale's winter concert titled 'Christmas Traditions,'" she said. "The music is loved and well-known and the chorale voices are sounding terrific. The concerts are going to be a gift of joy and beautiful music to all of the Sisters community. Everyone's going to leave smiling and humming!"

The chorale's winter concerts will be December 15 at 7 p.m. and December 17 at 2:30 p.m. at Sisters Community Church. New chorale members are encouraged to join the group in the spring of 2018. Practices will begin the first full week of March in preparation for performances at the end of May. All singers are welcome.

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