Sangre De Cristo Chorale: A Celebration of Women

Sangre de Cristo Chorale will present its concnert, A Celebration of Women, Friday and Saturday. Courtesy photo


As part of its 42nd season, the Sangre de Cristo Chorale will present its December concert, A Celebration of Women, 7 p.m. Friday at the United Church of Los Alamos and 4 p.m. Saturday at St. John’s United Methodist Church at 1200 Old Pecos Trail, in Santa Fe.

From poets to music to subject matter, women are at the center of this holiday-themed concert, which includes works by contemporary women composers Carol Barnett, Williametta Spencer, Nancy Grundahl, Gwyneth Walker, Nancy Wertsch, Sarah Quartel, Katie Kring and Anne-Marie Hildebrandt as well as 12th-century nun Hildegard von Bingen.

Music Director Fred Graham said, “We are especially excited to premiere a three-movement commissioned work, ‘Holly Songs,’ by Alabama composer Traci Mendel. ‘Holly Songs’ is a delightful piece that celebrates holly in all its glory and takes a rather irreverent view of other favorite flowers.”

Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Attendees age 18 and younger are free. Advance tickets may be ordered online at  

A Celebration of Women will be conducted by Music Director Fred Graham. Graham is a recent transplant to New Mexico from Minnesota, and is an active singer, voice teacher, choral director, organist and clinician. He is music director at Saint John’s United Methodist Church and teaches choral and vocal music at Santa Fe Community College and the New Mexico School for the Arts. Deborah Wagner will be the piano accompanist.

Founded in 1978, the mission of the Sangre de Cristo Chorale is to entertain, educate, unite, and inspire singers and audiences by performing great choral music.
This is a self-governing chorale of adult auditioned singers led by a distinguished director. The Chorale performs diverse choral music in northern New Mexico for the educational and artistic enrichment of the audience, the community, and its members.

The Sangre de Cristo Chorale board, director, performers, guest musicians and accompanists are all northern New Mexico residents who are dedicated to music as a lifelong pursuit. They are united in the joy of creating music together and motivated by a goal of touching the hearts of listeners, which they call “creating community through song.”

They now perform concerts in October, December and April in Santa Fe and Los Alamos. The impact is broad: The Chorale has counted approximately 200 different members since its inception, with about 10 percent of the original members remaining for at least 30 years – and inspiring many new members. For four decades, audience members expressed their enjoyment of the Chorale, its wide-ranging repertoire and performance quality.

More than 20 years ago the Chorale expanded its focus to helping enrich young singers by contributing formal choral educational outreach activities, in coordination with New Mexico schools. To date, approximately 1,000 students have apprenticed with, were tutored by, or received music and scholarships from the Chorale.  Some of these students have gone on to rewarding careers in music

Sangre de Cristo Chorale Music Director – Fred Graham
Fred Graham is a conductor, singer, and organist who has performed in these three roles throughout New England, New York, Washington, D.C., Louisiana, Arkansas, Minnesota and New Mexico. He has conducted choral performances internationally, in Germany and Austria. Graham received a Master of Sacred Music degree from Boston University, where he completed a double major in voice and organ (with graduate recitals in each field) and a Bachelor of Music degree in voice from Centenary College of Louisiana. He is Music Director at St John’s United Methodist Church in Santa Fe, Choral and Vocal Instructor at New Mexico School for the Arts and serves as Program Head for Performing Arts at Santa Fe Community College, where he teaches chorus and voice. This is Graham’s second season as the music director of the Sangre de Cristo Chorale.
Sangre de Cristo Chorale Accompanist – Deborah Wagner
Pianist Deborah Wagner is a native of Las Vegas, Nev., and completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Arizona State University.

She earned degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Northwestern University. She has performed with Santa Fe New Music, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Sangre de Cristo Chorale and Santa Fe Repertory Company. In addition to teaching and playing, Wagner regularly works with singers and instrumentalists in the Santa Fe area and toured soloists and choirs throughout the county.