Hi-Desert Chorus & Hi-Desert Cultural Center reunite to form new regional vocal ensemble

By  | 

JOSHUA TREE, CA – The Hi-Desert Chorus has reunited with the Hi-Desert Cultural Center, becoming the new vocal division of the Joshua Tree National Park communities’ regional arts organization.  Originally forming under the Cultural Center as the Hi-Desert Chorale in 1980 and later becoming its own non-profit organization in 2003 under its current name, the Hi-Desert Chorus celebrates an impressive history and heritage as being one of the area’s longest standing performing arts ensembles.  Over the past decade, the over 40 vocalists have been led by esteemed director, Bill Barrett—a professional musician and principal trumpet in the Joshua Tree Philharmonic who is also the band and choir director at Yucca Valley High School—and by professional composer and pianist, Clyde Grabski.

“The Cultural Center has received many inquiries asking for us to develop a vocal ensemble of the style and caliber of the Joshua Tree Philharmonic,” stated Hi-Desert Cultural Center board president, Jarrod Radnich.  “Bringing the Chorus back under the Cultural Center, affording them our unique depth of resources, and re-envisioning the future of this time-honored ensemble is enthralling on so many levels.”

The Chorus will be under the new direction of Analisa Pilecki, a musical theater and voice instructor at Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s ArtsTech Academy.  Ms. Pilecki is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, NY and is also a six-time Desert Theatre League award winner for her commanding musical theater and dramatic performances.  The Chorus will also be coached and accompanied pianistically by Nelms McKelvain, the ArtsTech Academy’s Director of Education and former Dean of the Arts for 30 years at the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy.

“I am thrilled to have such extraordinary musicians lead the Hi-Desert Chorus into this new and exciting chapter,” stated former Chorus director, Bill Barrett.  “As my time has become more limited professionally, I am greatly looking forward to still being a part of the Chorus’ future through their new combined performances with the Philharmonic.”

With the transition, the vocal ensemble will also debut a new name, the Hi-Desert Master Chorus (MCHOR)—to represent the ensemble’s new direction.  The intense, yet fun, ensemble will cover a wide breadth of musical styles from modern, pop, and contemporary genres, to world, Jazz, musical theater, and traditional choral works.

“We are ecstatic about becoming a part of the Cultural Center family again and at the innovative programming ideas for the upcoming season,” stated former Chorus board president and now new division chair, Beverly Schmuckle.  “There has never been a better time for vocalists in the Morongo Basin to build and become a part of a truly exceptional ensemble of singers.”

For more information on how to join the new Master Chorus, email Director Analisa Pilecki at apilecki@hidesertculturalcenter.org.  For more information on the Hi-Desert Cultural Center, visit HiDesertCulturalCenter.org or call the Box Office at 760.366.3777.  The Hi-Desert Cultural Center is a GuideStar “Gold Status” non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves as the arts agency for the Joshua Tree National Park region.

PHOTO CAPTION: Hi-Desert Chorus and Hi-Desert Cultural Center board members and musical directors reunite to form new regional vocal ensemble: (FROM LEFT) Kathleen Radnich, Rosemary Lane, Ginny Schmid, Kim Clements, Jim Lawless, Bill Barrett, Beverly Schmuckle, Jarrod Radnich, Nelms McKelvain, and Analisa Pilecki (NOT PICTURED: Clyde Grabski and Anne Sholtz).



With its multi-venue performing and visual arts centers located in Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley, California, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center (HDCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation (Federal Tax ID# 23-7425816) that  has been serving as the regional performing and visual arts organization for the gateway communities of Joshua Tree National Park for more than 50 years.  The Cultural Center owns and operates its own performance venues and facilities and produces award-winning community and professional live theater, concerts, art exhibits and galleries, festivals, the Joshua Tree Philharmonic symphony orchestra, an artist residency for veterans, an extensive educational arts and technology academy program for youth and adults, and more.  The Cultural Center is the largest and oldest non-profit arts organization in the region with several million dollars in assets, employing over 30 full-time and part-time employees, and with an annual budget exceeding half-a-million dollars.  Having achieved GuideStar Gold status and recognized as an organization of artistic excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, it instructs over 700 adults and youth weekly and operates a significant financial aid and scholarship program so that no children are turned away from programs due to their socioeconomic situation.  Learn more at: www.hidesertculturalcenter.org


GREAT NEWS FOR SEASON PACKAGE TICKET HOLDERS! Should your schedule change and you find yourself needing to attend a performance on a different date — if you give the Box Office at least 48 hours notice prior to your ticketed performance, management will attempt to exchange your ticket for a different performance of the same show!