Carlson to preside over Blue Ridge Chorale

This season, Johncie Carlson starts her role as the new Board President for the Blue Ridge Chorale, Culpeper’s community chorus.

In that role she will direct the activities of three professional staff and about 45 active singers each season. The Chorale, which is non-affiliated and not for profit, produces two full concerts yearly, and performs in Culpeper and the surrounding counties between six and 10 times each year.

A resident of Culpeper for 23 years, Carlson and her husband, Tim Carlson, have raised their three children in Culpeper. She received a BA from Averett College (now University) and has a diverse background of employment situations from teaching to serving tea and scones, processing film to providing travel arrangements, secretarial duties to sales.

Johncie and Tim opened Studio C Photography in 2010, and she continues helping him in the studio as an assistant photographer. Throughout, she has been active in theatre or music. Carlson has designed and directed three Broadway music revues locally, and taught beginning drama and music for the middle school at St. Luke’s School. She has been involved in church choir and hand bells, and community theatre for nearly 40 years, both on stage and behind the scenes. Locally she has been seen in several Windmore productions (including Oliver!, Crimes of the Heart, Accidents Happen, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Something’s Afoot) and served on their Board of Directors. She has also been involved with Four County Players in music revues and as “Little Red” in Into the Woods.

Carlson has been a member of The Blue Ridge Chorale since 2009 and has served on the Board as Recording Secretary for several seasons. She is excited for this new season and new opportunities to bring music to the community. Carlson looks forward to being at the helm of a dynamic Board, and to working alongside Director Melissa Janes and Youth Director Cathy ter Weele as they continue to bring musical entertainment to the community.

Maestro Melissa Janes

Melissa Janes starts as The Blue Ridge Chorale’s new Director this season. Janes replaces Carole Tomhave, who is unable to continue due to time and distance constraints.

A resident of Culpeper since 2008, Janes is a graduate of Westminster College, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelors’ in Music, and focus in Music Education. She has completed two levels of Kodaly Certification from James Madison University, as well as additional coursework in composition and conducting at University of Hart and University of Michigan. Janes is the Culpeper High School Choir Director, where she works with five different choirs and programs music for 4-6 yearly performances. She has been singing with the Blue Ridge Chorale for five years and has lead sectional rehearsals, and substituted for the director as needed.

Janes describes herself as “a passionate, perfectionist musician.”

“I feel strongly that singing is for everyone.  Back in the day before MP3 players, CDs, records and radio, the only way for music to be in your life was if you made it yourself.  Through recordings and TV talent searches, we have outsourced our music making and elevated people who have been deemed ‘worthy’ enough for the task.  However, in my life some of the most meaningful music I have ever heard has not been performed by these ‘worthy’ few. It has been my mother singing me a lullaby or by my husband singing me a love song.  Those are experiences everyone has a right to.  As a director, I feel strongly about giving people back the right to sing to their children and loved ones and to feel confident doing so.”

The Blue Ridge Chorale is a non-affiliated, not for profit community chorale based in Culpeper and serving the surrounding area as well. In the past two years, the Chorale performed in Culpeper, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock Counties, and sang at the opening week of the State Theatre in Culpeper.

For more information about the Blue Ridge Chorale, see their website, or call 540-717-9023.