San Juan County, New Mexico is considered one of the geographically largest counties in the country covering 5,538 square miles. The area was settled by Ancestral Puebloans in the 7th century and has been inhabited by the Navajos, Jicarilla Apaches and Utes. In 1901 the town of Farmington was incorporated and since 2006, the Caliente Community Chorus has been bringing singers together from the region “to inspire audiences, provide a creative outlet for adult singers, and travel to exciting locations.”
In a relatively short time, the chorus, a diverse and non-auditioned choir under the direction of Virginia Nickels-Hircock, has collaborated with the Southwest Civic Winds, Durango Chamber Singers, Piedra Vista High School, Durango Choral Society, San Juan Symphony and other local college choirs in Farmington and around the Four Corners region. The group awards two scholarships annually-one is a piano lesson scholarship for students 8-17 years of age and the other is a college scholarship that is awarded to a musician who plans to major in the fine arts.
The chorale was founded by Virginia Nickels-Hircock and Robyn Woodard “who believe that the real beauty and magic of music lies in its ability to celebrate, comfort, strengthen and entertain.” Its repertoire ranges from opera choruses to cathedral classics, from world folk to jazz standards, from Broadway favorites to cinema greats. When it comes to traveling, the chorus is on the move. They have performed multiple concert tours to various places including Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Greece and New York City.