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Creating a community Christmas choir

Crook County High School and Middle School music teacher Hannah Moorman is leading the effort


Hannah Moorman has been asked for a number of years by local residents to form a community-based choir.

Working as a music educator at Crook County High School and the Middle School, Moorman was hesitant to do so, until this year.

Partnering with Missy Barker, choir director at the First Baptist Church in Prineville, Moorman has laid the groundwork for a community choir Christmas performance, to be held at the First Baptist Church on Christmas Eve.

“Missy came to me and suggested that we do this together,” said Moorman. “So I thought sure, let’s do it.

I am excited for the community element and to work with her.”

The co-directors bring a wealth of musical talent to the endeavor.

According to Barker, she liked to sing so much that her parents were forced to adapt a “no singing at the table” rule so that the rest of the family could enjoy dinner.

Playing piano since the age of 6, Barker, who has a degree in music from Portland State, began singing in church by the age of 12. She picked up the guitar in high school, playing old-time and bluegrass music before migrating to choir, her favorite class.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring the people of Prineville together, through music and song, in celebration of the birth of Christ,” said Barker. “We hope that people from all walks of life will join in for the Christmas celebration, either as a participant in the choir or as an attendee at the concert.”

Moorman, who earned a masters in music education from Oregon State, has taught in the Crook County School District for eight years.

She sang for five years with the Bend-based semi-pro choir, Central Oregon Mastersingers, performing a variety of musical genres ranging from classical to contemporary.

“As far as I know, there has not been a community choir in Prineville for a long time,” said Moorman. “We are excited to be able to offer this unique opportunity that is open to teens and adults.”

Moorman is looking forward to providing a musical connection for both generations, so she and Barker are taking all-comers for the musical production, providing an opportunity for anyone who likes to sing.

“This is a unique opportunity for those that may not be involved in another choir,” said Moorman. “There are not a lot of chances for adults to sing in the area.”

According to Moorman, the performance will offer an eclectic variety of holiday music, telling the story of Christ’s birth from its prophecy to the wise men’s visit.

Songs will include an eighth century Gregorian chant, a Spanish Christian folk song, along with “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and Amy Grant’s contemporary “Breath of Heaven."

Traditional songs will include “We Three Kings,” “Silent Night,” and “Still, Still, Still.”

Moorman is excited to partner with Barker in offering an opportunity to members of the community to come together and sing during the holidays.

“I’d love to have a good size choir of 50 to 60 people, but there is no minimum,” she said. “The acoustics in First Baptist are really nice for vocal music, so I am excited for the setting.”

The Community Christmas Choir will practice every Sunday, starting on Oct. 19, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 at the First Baptist Church in Prineville. Participation is open to all teens and adults and no experience or audition is required.

The choir’s concert will be held on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church.

Childcare is also available for free, provided by the church for both practices and the performance, but parents are asked to call ahead with the number and ages of children that will be using the service.

For more information contact Hannah Moorman at 503-580-9835 or by email at Hannah.moorman@crookcounty.k12.or.us, or Missy Barker at 503-544-7927 or by email at missy@greengrassmusic.net.

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