By Jess Gonzalez,
January 29, 2024 – More than any other art form, music is said to drive human actions and emotions as it influences and impacts our soul, heart, spirit, and culture.
In its own way music reaches out to us and becomes part of who we are. Its influence on our human psyche is unlike any other.
A welcomed musical entity for our community
Being aware of the big part music plays in the life of each of us, in 1914 Choir Director Ed Cobb, working with the Clovis Unified School District, started a music organization that was designed to entertain, energize, and bring joy to our Clovis community.
Since then it has done that and more.
The Community Choir of The Valley not only provides entertaining with its quality choral performances the year around, but it is also lifts spirits by bringing joy and music culture to our Central California Community.
However, as time has moved on, the choir is no longer under the auspices of the CUSD. According to Ed,
“We had some very exciting years, but our members felt there were some limitations in being associated with the school district and we had to have our own best interest in mind—including having control of our finances.”
The choir is now an independent non-profit entity.
The four major concerts of the year
In striving to entertain and bring joy through music to our community, the Community Choir of The Valley performs four major concerts during the year—one in every season.
In the Spring, there is, of course, the Spring Concert that features a variety of music.
In the summer, on the weekend prior to the 4th of July, the choir performs the well-liked and much applauded Patriotic Concert in a special salute to the Armed Forces and Independence Day pageantry. The 2024 Patriotic Concert will be on Friday, June 28.
The choir’s fall concert features beautiful and meaningful holy music that includes classical sacred, gospel, spirituals, contemporary Christian, Hebrew, and other traditional sacred music.
Then, for “the most beautiful time of the year,” the Community Choir of The Valley performs all the Christmas favorites that are so popular and so well received by audiences during the holidays season. It’s a festive music extravaganza!
Historical venue for the April 14th Spring Concert
This year’s edition of the Spring Concert, called “The Greatest Shows On Earth,” will feature great music from Broadway, the silver screen, and television.
It will be on Sunday, April 14, in an old, but excitingly new venue for the choir—the historical Warnor’s Theatre in downtown Fresno.
“It has great acoustics and a beautiful and ornate interior with capacity for over 2,000 people—we hope we can fill it,” Ed says excitedly.
It also has a historic 1929 Roger-Morton Theater Organ that was first used in the theatre during the silent movie era of the 1920’s.
Ed says they like to incorporate a small number of instruments in their concerts to accompany the choir in its performances. So, yes—the old Warnor Theatre organ will be used for the Spring Concert!
Randy Berger, the Choir’s pianist from the first day the choir was organized, will play the organ along with Cactus Harris, the Warnor’s principal organist.
Why join the community choir
So, why do people join the community choir? Ed, a graduate of Texas Tech University with majors in music and education, says it’s because,
“People join to sing for fun, for the solemn, for the soul, the heart, and the mind. We are basically a musical family that loves music and has fun singing.”
The youngest member of the choir is in his late 20s while the eldest is nearing 90. All singers are welcomed to join the choir.
There are no auditions for potential members because, as Ed notes, holding auditions can make people uncomfortable. “So, we put them in a very unthreatening situation,” he says.
They are also not required to be able to read music. But potential members should be able to carry a tune.
“And they must love music and be serious about attending rehearsals and working with the choir to make it the best it can be.”
The choir rehearses twice a week in two-hour sessions. Rehearsals are now held at the new Clovis Senior Activity Center on Third Street in downtown Clovis. Individual choir sections also rehearse on their own from time to time.
“Quality concert performances don’t just happen,” declares Ed. “We have to work at making them happen.”
No fees for performances
An interesting aspect of the choir’s performances is that an admission fee is never charged. The choir’s wish is simply to have people attend their concerts and enjoy their music.
So, how is the choir able to pay expenses—like paying concert venue rent, music sheets purchases, insurance, publicity flyers and posters, and so on? They have two basic ways of raising money.
First, members pay seasonal membership fees. Secondly, the choir utilizes a donations box that is present at all their concerts.
However, the cost of everything in our society is going up. That includes the choir’s expenses. So it will soon try to get business sponsors.
Providing the sound of music!
There is no doubt people who have attended their concerts agree the Community Choir of The Valley is an entertaining and unique asset to our Central California Community!
As Ed says, “We provide musical singing entertainment unlike any other!”
In its own unique way, the Community Choir of The Valley is bringing together all who like to standup and sing.
If you haven’t already done so, go out to one of their concerts—you will love it!
More about the choir: choirofthevalley.com