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Mountain Area singers take the big stage in New York City

Local singers Charmaine Valero, Catherine Jackson, Robin Blossom, Nancy Iden, Catherine Walker, Phil Walker, Mary Posluch and Valerie Ramsey (not pictured is Susan Moore) will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 26.
Local singers Charmaine Valero, Catherine Jackson, Robin Blossom, Nancy Iden, Catherine Walker, Phil Walker, Mary Posluch and Valerie Ramsey (not pictured is Susan Moore) will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 26. Courtesy Valerie Ramsey

What’s the biggest stage a singer can take?

Carnegie Hall in New York City comes to mind. And that’s where eight singers from the Mountain Area, joined by one from Fresno, will perform in a concert on May 26.

The singers are longtime colleagues of Allan Robert Petker, an internationally recognized composer and conductor who for 12 years was director of the annual Sierra Choral Festival held at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church in Oakhurst.

At Carnegie Hall, Petker will direct his own composition, “Te Deum to Music,” which was written for choir and orchestra on the big stage. Over 200 amateur singers from around the country including the local contingent will join the performance. Most will have practiced on their own with their choruses and individually for at least six months. The combined group will rehearse together three times before the big event.

Here’s a look at the local contingent:

▪ Robin Blossom has been singing since age 9 in choirs and as a soloist. She has been a member of college choirs, the Grand Opera, California Opera, Sierra Chamber Singers and is a founder of the Chamber Maids.

▪ Nancy Walker Iden has been singing all her life. Highlights include singing with Mel Olsen for Cathedral Sing performing in England, River City Choral performing in Italy and Europe, Summer Sing and Sierra Chamber Singers.

▪ Catherine Ratzin Jackson has been singing all her life in choirs and as a soloist. She was a Byzantine Ruthenian Cantorka for over 20 years where the responsibility is to lead the people’s singing of the liturgy; she currently sings with the Fresno Master Chorale.

▪ Susan Moore is a member and soloist with Oakhurst Chamber Singers and Chamber Maids. Also, she is a composer, arranger and music director at Oakhurst Lutheran Church.

▪ Mary Posluch is an accomplished soloist, pianist and piano teacher. She is worship leader at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church and the soloist and accompanist of the church choir. She is a member of Oakhurst Community Band and an accompanist for Fresno Unified School District.

▪ Valerie Ramsey has been singing since high school. She has been a singer at Summer Sing and has sung at Sierra Vista Presbyterian for a number of years.

▪ Charmaine Valero is a member of the choir at Sierra Vista Presbyterian and a soloist.

▪ Catherine Walker has been a singer with the Fresno Master Chorale for over 50 years. She has toured with the Chorale to China, Austria, Greece and Carnegie Hall in 2006. She is a highly accomplished accompanist for several choirs and is the organist/choir director at Sierra Vista Presbyterian.

▪ Philip Walker, Catherine’s husband, has sung with the Fresno Master Chorale for the past 35 years and has toured with them in China, Austria, Greece and Carnegie Hall in 2006.

The group has practiced together for many months and will join Petker’s chorales for a final rehearsal in Sacramento before the performance in New York.

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