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Choir Info

50 Years of Choral Music for Heart and Soul

The Victorian Village of Ferndale is found on the coast of Northern California in Humboldt County – about five  hours north of San Francisco when the roads are good.  If you go much further past the town of 1,400, you’ll end up in Oregon.

Nearly 50 years ago, Betty Diehl – the wife of one of the two Lutheran pastors in town – got a group of singers from both churches together to sing for a joint service at Christmas. They had so much fun, and so many others from the community wanted to join in, they sang again at Easter, and the Ferndale Community Choir was born.

Betty Diehl, Director of the Ferndale Community Choir

Betty has been the Choir’s director since the inception, selecting an eclectic program of sacred music for performances in the Spring and again at Christmas. The Choir sings ancient melodies, rousing spirituals, and modern works, making choral music accessible to concert-goers with unpretentious passion, great diction, and the joy of making music together.

Over the years, more than 500 people have sung with the Choir.  Every season 50 to 60 people of many different faiths – and of no faith – people from teenagers to 90 years old, from dairymen to doctors, and from seven different towns gather in Ferndale for rehearsals.  We present three concerts of sacred music each Christmas and again in Spring at various venues in and out of Ferndale.  Our music is described as “eclectic, electric choral music for the soul.”

The Choir had an amazing experience in 2017 – a year of fundraising, of learning and loving the second and third parts of Handel’s “Messaiah,” and performing it with orchestra and 175 other singers from around the world at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  We mourned the death of one of our members, bodacious bass Nathan Smith just before our trip, and remembered him even as we celebrated after the performance.

End of the performance at Carnegie Hall, New York City, November 26, 2017

The Choir with Director Dr. Jonathan Griffith after rehearsal.

The Christmas season of 2019 launched the 50th year of the Ferndale Community Choir.  Stay tuned for information about concerts and celebrations!

The choir is a non-profit 501(c)(3). 

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