I know it is summer when I see Desert Chorale singer Ronald Lee Downs in the window of a downtown coffee shop. Ron is in his 18th season with the Chorale and his appearance in that window studying musical scores means that the Chorale’s season is in full swing. We often catch up in that window – on things musical and life in general. You see, we musicians are a strange lot. We are just as likely to sit reading a score as curling up with a good book. Actually, a musical score IS a good book and we often know the ending, more or less. I often have a score I am reading in addition to a good novel.
Ron has sung in various professional choral ensembles for more than 30 years, and currently sings with the Choir of Christ Church, Georgetown, DC, Conspirare, and the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers. He actively researches, collects and studies unaccompanied choral repertoire of the Renaissance and Contemporary eras, with a personal library approaching 3000 scores and scholarly editions – I have a paltry 400, or so, and they tend to orchestral masterworks and contemporary music.
Joshua Habermann, music director of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale since 2009, has brought new life to the Chorale and its repertoire. And, though the ensemble is midway through its summer season, there are still wonderful concerts ahead.