(38 Total References)
Redlands First United Methodist Church
Director of Music Ministries
Redlands Daily Facts - News
Roger Duffer has been leading vocal music in Redlands for 30 years
...Now Roger Duffer, artistic director and conductor of the Inland Master Chorale, celebrates 30 years of Redlands residency."Redlands was called Beverly Hills East back then," said Duffer, referring to the time of his move to Redlands, when he accepted a teaching position with the Redlands Unified School District, where he taught for 18 years.
"They took teachers on a tour of the town when they were new.You weren't just coming to Redlands to teach children, you were coming to be part of the community of Redlands."
How did you get involved? Duffer said he has known since junior high school that music would play a role in his life, yet he started college as a chemical engineering major at Northwestern University.He studied by night and worked at IBM during the day for about one year, then transferred to North Central College.
It was in 1980 when Duffer
was invited to become part of a group from the local music community gathering to discuss forming a community choral music group that would later become the Inland Master Chorale
"We sent out letters and advertised in newspapers for singers.We expected about 25 people to show up, we prepared for 60.But 125 singers showed up that night, so we knew there was a need for the group."
The response was not so great though to an ad placed looking for a director.Duffer
hat in the ring with the few other applicants, having no intention of taking the job.
"The plan was for the chorale to be organization-based, not conductor-based.So we set it up as a two-year position, with the thought we would bring in a new conductor every two years.
After several others auditioned, Duffer
was chosen for the job.
said the mission was two-prong: to provide a performance venue for talented people and a fine ensemble that can perform at a high level for the community.When Duffer began as director, it was his idea and the board agreed to change the chorale from a community ensemble to an auditioned ensemble.
The result was about 80 talented singers that Duffer
said have "gotten better each year."
For the first 11 years, the chorale practiced at the San Bernardino County Museum
, a sort of central spot in the area that intended to be inclusive of the Inland Empire.Now home base is First Baptist Church of Redlands, where Duffer also serves as chorale director.
"We try to do a mixed bag of performances," he
said, " from different genres, about four concerts per year.
"We have obviously fulfilled that two-prong need," Duffer
refers to himself as the "paid arm waver" but admits that he
did the job for many years on a volunteer basis, as most jobs within the chorale are done.
"I hope we continue to grow in quality," Duffer
"We have established a reputation for artistic excellence, purely the doing of Roger
It's all about the music for ...
It's all about the music for Duffer
> For Roger Duffer
, it's always about the music. Duffer, artistic director of Inland Master Chorale, has directed the group since its inception, 28 years ago. "Music is my passion - that's why it was my profession," said Duffer, a retired music professor who taught choral music at Redlands High School for 18 years and at Riverside Community College for 16 years.
"Most people went to work every day.I got to go make music every day," said Duffer, who is now a professor emeritus from RCC.
direction, the Chorale, composed of 60 talented vocalists from throughout the Inland Empire, has received national and international acclaim.
"This is a light concert except for the `Messiah.' We'll have a variety of music," Duffer
"Everyone seems to have fun."
The first half of the concert features a selection of holiday music including arrangements of "Jingle Bells," "Sleigh Ride," "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" and "The 12 Days of Christmas."
The concert will include a medley of "Jingle Bells," since this season marks the 150th anniversary of the Christmas classic, written in 1857 in England, according to Duffer
"A lot of people come just because of the sing-along," Duffer
said."We put the Chorale in the audience.It sounds wonderful." Duffer
and his wife, Jeannie, live in Redlands.
...Duffer's wife and son sing in the Chorale and the First United Methodist Church Choir, where Duffer has been director of music ministries for 32 years.
"It's a family affair," he
Redlands Daily Facts - News
Judges for this year's cornpetition were Roger Duffer, choral director at Riverside Community College; Kimo Smith, organist and pianist and chairman of the music department at La Sierra University; and James Keays, University of Redlands professor of music and interim director of the School of Music.
"We've tried to perform the best ...
"We've tried to perform the best of chorale music that's out there in the best possible way," said artistic director Roger Duffer, who helped found the group in 1980.
and associate director and accompanist Melva Morrison are the chorale's only paid members.
"The bottom line is our members do a lot," Duffer
"We're not part of a school or organization, which some groups like us are."
The chorale has had up to 80 members and currently has around 65, Duffer
For the last 20 years the chorale has rehearsed at First United Methodist Church on Olive Avenue
and Cajon Street, and the church is known for its acoustics, he
Most of the works the chorale performs are from the Baroque and Classical periods, written for smaller orchestras and chamber groups, Duffer
If they do Romantic-era works like Brahms' "Requiem" or Beethoven's 9th Symphony - which they have, Duffer
said - they are with a symphony orchestra, often the Redlands Symphony
"We feel not only the singers like to perform different kinds of music but the audience likes to hear different kinds of music," said Duffer, professor emeritus at Riverside Community College and director of music ministries at First United Methodist.
holds the chorale to high standards, DeZon said.
said members are the backbone.
They come from as far as Hemet, the Banning area, Ontario, mountain communities and Riverside.
One member from Big Bear has had to stay overnight in winter, he said.