Thirty Years of Tradition
Sierra Nevada Masterworks Chorale promotes and educates about vocal music, exposing the public to this time-honored art form, keeping alive this lovely tradition for the community.
The Sierra Nevada Masterworks Chorale has been performing vocal music in Northern Nevada for over thirty years. An integral part of Reno’s vibrant arts scene, the Chorale is one of the area’s most established amateur choral organizations with an auditioned chorus of men and women performing a variety of works.
Why the Chorale Is Important
Community chorales allow us to participate in, as opposed to being passive consumers of, music. The musical experience is uplifting and reinforces a strong social message: A choir of human voices singing in harmony is the most elegant metaphor we have for a community that works.
The mission of the Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale is to educate, enrich, and entertain through performance, promotion, and preservation of quality choral music. Our repertory includes traditional musical presentations, from American heritage and patriotic pieces, to Broadway and popular classical selections.
The Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale is an auditioned chorus of men and women who perform the great choral repertoire from the classics to contemporary work giving voice to the State of Nevada. In addition to concerts, the Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale is committed to innovative programs of education and outreach in the schools and community. The Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale also encourages the professional artistic development of singers, composers and conductors who work with the choral repertoire.
Sharon Eyre, Musical Director
Sharon Christy Eyre was born in Glendale, California. Her first solo was performed in her living room at the age of 5 accompanied by her mother at the piano. At the age of 8, she and her family moved to Las Vegas, NV. She began singing in choirs in the third grade and pretty much has been singing in choirs ever since! In 1972 she began directing church groups and city groups. Sharon joined the Sierra Nevada Chorale in 1979. She began giving voice lessons in the early 1980’s. In January of 2017 she took over the position of director when Maestro Richard Lee retired.
Sharon is married to R. Craig Eyre and they are the parents of 7 children. In 1988, Sharon directed the play “Fiddler On the Roof”. Since she was in the orchestra pit directing, and her husband was on the stage as Tevya, to save on babysitting, she cast all their children in the play! Music has been a central part of the Eyre family. You could say it is a ‘Tradition.’
Richard Lee, Founder and Musical Director
Under the direction of Maestro Richard Lee, the Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale first gained national recognition in 1985 as one of two choral groups selected to perform at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Parade for President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.
In 1992, Encore International Discovery invited the Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale to perform in a celebration co-hosted by the United States, the Dominican Republic and Spain to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
The Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale earned a standing ovation for performances in New York City's Carnegie Hall in 1994 and 1996 and performed at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City in 1997.
Among its many local venues are performances at the Pioneer Center, Nightingale Concert Hall, Wingfield Park, opening of the Nevada Legislature and State-of-the-State address by Governor Kenny Guinn, liturgical concerts in local churches, and special civic dedications and memorials.
Through Mr. Lee’s talent, the Chorale has risen from an amateur musical group to prominence in Northern Nevada’s artistic community. Born in Chunking, China, Mr. Lee was trained in Taiwan, first as a soloist and then as a conductor. He received a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, where he won numerous honors. He’s served on the faculty at University of Nevada Reno and Sierra Nevada College and most recently at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Mr. Lee retired from his position as Musical Director in January 2017. The chorale honors Mr. Lee’s years of dedication and hard work with a richly deserved standing ovation.
Eric Kao, Chorale Accompanist
Eric is a recent graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno, earning a Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano. He previously graduated with a Dual Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and Piano Performance along with a Minor in Mathematics at UNR.
Eric has studied with Dr. James Winn and Dr. Hyeyeon Park throughout his high school and college career. In addition, he attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for year to study with Dr. Timothy Bach.
As a pianist for eighteen years and violist for fourteen years, his musical experience ranges from solo performing to playing with full orchestras for both instruments; orchestras include UNR Orchestra, TOCCATA, Ruby Mountain Symphony, and Reno Pops Orchestra.
In 2008, he was the only freshman to perform a piano concerto with the University Orchestra. A year later, he was the winner of the First Annual Reno Pops Concerto Festival. As for solo performing, he was one of the prize winners at the 2010 Valencia Young Artist Piano Competition in Sacramento, CA. Eric is an active chamber musician and accompanist, collaborating with many students through the University and several freelance opportunities in the NV-CA area.
Besides music, Eric enjoys several activities such as running, basketball, and kayaking.
Board of Directors
- MWC BOARD MEMBERS:
President: Jody Cram
Vice President: Jessica Mingo
Treasurer: Gary Whisler
Board Secretary: Mary Beaubriand
Librarian: Sharon Eyre
Company Manager: Lois Craik
Outreach Coordinator: Barbara Meyer
- AUXILIARY MEMBERS:
Barbara Lienhard: Dues Manager
Jim Price: Sound & Equipment Coordinator
Shawnee Hughes: Special Projects Manager
Chuen Chan: Ticket Sales Coordinator