Sierra Master Chorale names new music director

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InConcert Sierra has selected a new music director of the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra after a year-long search that included more than 20 candidates from around the world. 


Alison Skinner will take the baton from founding member Ken Hardin, who announced more than a year ago that he will step down after holiday concerts in December. He will continue as artistic director for InConcert Sierra. 


“It was an exceptionally difficult decision,” Executive Director Julie Hardin said in a new release. “All of the candidates were outstanding and brought a wealth of experience, and enthusiasm.”


Through Skinner’s auditions and interviews, the search committee, board of directors and the choir felt that her personality already fit the culture of the Sierra Master Chorale. 


“Ken and the choir, as well as the board of directors and staff, are looking forward to embracing Alison as our new music director and making sure that she receives all the support and tools she needs to make the transition seamless,” Hardin said. 


Skinner said she was impressed with the organization Ken, Julie and the board has created, the scope of what they do and how both InConcert Sierra and the choir are well organized. 


“Working for an organization that has such a great foundation is amazing,” she said. 


Skinner brings with her more than 12 years of choral experience. For the past eight years, she has been the artistic director for the Davis Chorale. She is also choir director of Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis. 


“I just love conducting a choir. I like the energy in the room when you have a committed group of people,” Skinner said. 


The Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra Holiday Concerts on Dec. 15-16 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley will be Ken Hardin’s finale with the choir. Skinner will assume leadership in the spring and is already working on the choir’s performance in May. 


“I love programming and am already thinking about what music I want for the spring concerts,” she said. 


Sierra Master Chorale is an 80-voice auditioned choir comprised of local singers.


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Alison Skinner replaces Ken Hardin, who will conduct his final concerts on Dec. 15-16.