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Mesilla Valley Chorale (MVC) is welcoming its new director, Carol Nike, and returning accompanist Ginny May, as it continues the popular performances the chorale began in May 1972 after a long pandemic-induced hiatus.
The chorale returned to in-person rehearsals Sept. 27.
MVC will perform “Carols Old and New,” a Christmas/holiday concert, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main St. Downtown. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. for open seating at the theater. Tickets are $10 each and are available online at https://www.mesillavalleychorale.org/ as well as from any chorale member or at the door. The concert will include “Hanukkah Suite,” “Mary, Did You Know,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “White Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Christmas Waltz,” “The Christmas Song” and many more holiday favorites, including an audience singalong.
Nike grew up in Las Cruces and graduated from Las Cruces High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in voice performance and a master’s degree in choral conducting, both from New Mexico State University.
Before returning to Las Cruces in 2010, Nike (in correct pronunciation, it rhymes with “bike”) lived and worked for five years in Dallas, where she conducted a madrigal group, and for 25 years in England, where she conducted a number of choirs, including one made up of 65 singers ages 8 to 80, who were members of a dozen different churches. She also directed a Christian-based musical that included a band, dancers and actors.
One of her favorite memories in England is of a man she spoke with in his 70s who was interested in the choir she directed but told her he couldn’t sing. Before long, Nike had him performing with the choir and even singing solos.
“What I bring to the table is encouraging people to be their best,” Nike said.
“It really is rewarding to do something together no individual person could accomplish,” she said. Singing – including the strong vibrations it creates – is also good for singers’ mental and physical health, Nike said.
In addition to leading MVC, Nike teaches voice lessons online and in person to students in Las Cruces and as far away as New York, San Francisco and England.
“I think I can improve almost anyone’s voice,” she said.
She also is music director at St. James Episcopal Church in Las Cruces.
Joining Nike and May on the MVC leadership team are assistant director Judy Bethmann and assistant accompanist Karen Warren, both of whom are retired from Las Cruces Public Schools.
MVC began as a group of friends from the St. Paul’s Methodist Church choir getting together in a private home in Las Cruces to sing for fun. They soon had a director and a name and performed their first concert in May 1972.
Joining the chorale
Nike said MVC is looking for members to join in time for its spring 2022 session and be part of its 50th spring concert. Rehearsals will begin in January.
Requirements to join MVC, she said, include “energy and commitment.” Previous chorale experience is preferred.
Potential new members will be auditioned by Nike.
MVC rehearses 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, with the rehearsal space for spring yet to be confirmed.
The chorale is planning a May 8, 2022, Mother’s Day concert, Nike said.
The chorale sings up to eight-part harmony, including first and second soprano, alto, tenor and bass.