Who we are consists of many influences, past and present. Please explore our past, learn about the people we’ve been fortunate to have guiding our direction, and look to our promising future.

History of the Telluride Choral Society

Artistic Director Dr. David Lingle - Fall 2002 through December 2009

Artistic Director John P. Yankee - Fall 1995 through Spring 2002

Artistic Director Rhonda Muckerman - January 1, 2010 to Present (and Future!)

The Telluride Choral Society circa 1997 - 1998

The “founding father” of the Telluride Choral Society, John Yankee galvinized the singing community of Telluride into a cohesive and growing force. The Choral Society would not have come into existence without his influence and inspiration.

The Telluride Choral Society was founded in 1995, as a way for community members to share in the joy of singing. The Choral Society began on the back of a napkin. At a meeting held at the Steaming Bean (a coffee emporium in Telluride), lawyer and former mayor John Steel told singer Andy Knorr, "we need John Yankee (at that time hired by the Telluride school system as an Artist in Residence) and a choral society in this town and you are the one to do it!"  Knorr promptly called artist/philanthropist Daniel Tucker requesting a start-up grant. Tucker agreed to match whatever funds Knorr manged to raise. In short order, Telluride's newest non-profit declared its mission: To enrich the community's cultural experience by supporting TCS singing groups and other vocal music through performances and ongoing music education.

The Telluride Choral Society has had three Artistic Directors in its 15 year history, all uniquely talented. John Yankee, our first Artistic Director, crafted the idea of a "community chorus" in Telluride. He  brought the concept of "WinterSing", as a Holiday musical tradition, to our town. He also brought to Telluride our SpringSing concerts, as well as a singer’s weekend camp “SummerSing”.

In 2002, Dr. David Lingle was hired and explored new paths for us for almost 8 years. He introduced the exhilirating "Masterworks" choral series, as well as “KidSing” specifically for the youth in Telluride. We collaborated with the San Juan Symphony, the Durango Choral Society, the Telluride Repertory Theatre and the Telluride Dance Academy. We had the wonderful opportunity to sing at the “Music In The Mountains” festival in Durango and at Carnegie Hall.

!n 2010, Rhonda Muckerman took the helm. Her energy and approach are a catalyst that will continue the tradition of growth and change that we, as a choral society, embrace.

Each and every director has brought a different style and a new perspective and energy that we have been fortunate to enjoy and whose inspiration has produced lasting benefits. We are thrilled to continually move forward and to “Keep on Singing.” 

We are a homegrown, non-profit organization that offers scholarships for singers who can't afford tuition. Nearly 100% of our  budget goes to programming and to the Artistic Director. TCS's short-term goals include broadening its base of participants and keeping music fresh, exciting and accessible by offering more performances of exceptional choral music.

TCS is largely an all-volunteer organization consisting of 75+ singers, ranging in age from 8 to 70, plus non-singing support staff, with 8 board members, parents and accompanists. Go to singer information for an overview of our singing groups.

Our deepest goal is to “Keep On Singing!” and to sing well and joyously and share that experience with others.

Rhonda’s musical training began when she was a young girl in New Jersey, with an old harmonica, an electric organ, and her babysitter’s guitar.  After many years studying the flute, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Michigan State University, and a Master of Music degree in conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.  She has taught extensively, both instrumental and choral music, to people of all ages for the last 30 years throughout Michigan, Ohio and Washington, and for the last fifteen years, in Telluride and Norwood. 

Rhonda is happy to be the artistic director of the Telluride Choral Society, having been a member of both the Chorale and Chamber Singers in their first eight years of existence.  She enjoys working with singers of all ages, and performing quality repertoire for the Telluride community and beyond.  She particularly appreciates the process by which music-making brings people together!

John Yankee, currently Conductor for the Falmouth Chorale in Massachusetts,  has served choruses throughout the United States. Most recently he performed as Director of the San Diego Choral Union and the Children's Choir, served as Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra South Shore Chorus, and Chicago Civic Orchestra, and was the Founder and Artistic Director of the Telluride Choral Society as well as Music Director for the Telluride Chamber Orchestra and Repertory Company.

He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at Peabody Conservatory and master's degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Yale School of Music. His extensive teaching experience includes a long affiliation with the Walden School for Young Composers. He is a professional trumpeter, a singer, and performs on the hammered dulcimer and keyboard.

Dr. Lingle is a native of Northern Wisconsin. He received his Masters in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Tulsa and a Doctoral Degree in Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. He has composed and conducted music for a national broadcast entitled "A Service of Light" which aired on the ABC Television Network, worked with Broadway and Television personalities, and prepared choruses for the Tulsa Philharmonic, Oklahoma Sinfonia and the Tulsa Ballet. In addition to his love of choral music in nearly every style, David has worked extensively in both musical theater and in church work. This has afforded him the opportunity to conduct everything from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" to festival settings of the Bernstein "Chichester Psalms" and the Mozart "Solemne Vespers".

While in Telluride from 2002 through 2009, Dr. Lingle conducted all of the

Choral Society groups, expanded programming with the addition of

“KidSing” and “MasterWorks” performances, and was the Music Director

for many of the Telluride Repertory Theater productions including

"Godspell", "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", “Chicago”, “Guys and

Dolls”, as well as youth theatre productions through the Sheridan Arts

Foundation  and the Telluride Public Schools. 


Dr. Lingle passed away in February of 2013. He will be lovingly remembered

by all who knew and worked with him. The Telluride Choral Society is

grateful for the gifts he brought to the community and to the organization.