Coastal Voices is led by artistic director Margaret Nelson (left, photo by Leslee Edward). Prior to taking over as Artistic Director, Margaret had been a member of the group for several years. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and is retired from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Margaret is the organist and choir director for her church, accompanies Orcutt Academy choral groups, is a co-conductor of the Central Coast Chordsmen, and gives piano lessons. In any spare time she can find she enjoys composing and arranging music. Margaret takes great care in choosing the music for our concerts, always seeking audience-friendly pieces that are fun to sing and listen to.
Thank you to our Fabulous Audience!
Coastal Voices presented their spring concert, “The Fabulous 50s,” recently in the sanctuary of St. Andrew United Methodist Church. When nearly 50 singers found their places on the risers the second evening, they saw the audience still coming in to their seats.
Apparently, the Saturday afternoon audience spread the word and some returned for a second dose of the 50s music. As the choir began to sing, the audience began to clap, their feet were tapping, and the band played on. When intermission came, the audience rose to their feet and gave the choir a standing ovation.
As the last song was sung, the entire audience rose again to their feet in another standing ovation and shouts of “yeah!” Margaret Nelson has been our artistic director for 10 years. She has developed expertise to choose the themes for the concerts and music to match the themes and teach the choir the music.
The Coastal Voices president, Juliann Hemphill, and the Coastal Voices board of directors have worked diligently through music to bring back memories of our youth, create a time to be joyful and happy, to smile at our seat mates and join them in singing along with the choir.
The audience was wonderful and marvelous, a full house. We want to thank them for their active participation and the word-of-mouth praise they gave our Coastal Voices by encouraging more people to hear us on the second night.
Esther H. Moon
Some of Our Past Concerts
All posters designed by Juliann Hemphill
In the early 1990s a group of singers called the Master Chorale performed with the Santa Maria Symphony. When the Symphony ceased operations in the late 1990s, the Master Chorale also disbanded. Dolores Doran (right, photo by Esther H. Moon), a member of the chorale, organized a new choral group consisting of members from the Master Chorale as well as other singers from the surrounding communities. This was the beginning of Coastal Voices.
Costs were kept to a minimum. Singers were asked to pay dues to defray some of the costs and risers were borrowed from Allan Hancock College. Friends and spouses were called upon to help with the programs, ticket sales, and other chores. Concerts were held throughout the Santa Maria Valley and surrounding communities.
The group was incorporated as a California nonprofit corporation in November of 2004. The group grew and received frequent performance invitations in the community. Sadly, Dolores Doran passed away in January of 2007. The choir was dormant until August of 2007, when a new board was elected and the group reorganized and again became active.
In November of 2007 the first concert of the revitalized choir, led by new artistic director Margaret Nelson, performed music selected by Dolores in honor of Veterans and current military members.
In the Spring of 2008 Coastal Voices held their first fundraiser, starting a tradition of successful dinners held each Spring that include a concert of small ensembles and solos performed by group members throughout the course of the evening. In 2017 we introduced our Karaoke Funraiser, which was a great success. In addition to raising money for operating expenses, this makes it possible for Coastal Voices to give back to the community by offering financial support to local music programs and groups.
Since 2007, Coastal Voices has established a tradition of two annual concerts and an annual fundraiser. We perform a wide variety of music in our concerts. We also have a small group that is available for caroling each year over the holiday season and has performed at the Santa Maria Tree Lighting the last several years. Coastal Voices joins periodically with other groups, notably the Allan Hancock College Choir and the Santa Maria Philharmonic, bringing us full circle back to our roots as the Master Chorale with the Santa Maria Symphony.
Coastal Voices is a true community choir, unaffiliated with other organizations. Our members are drawn from all ages and walks of life. This diversity of musical experiences is one of our greatest attributes. We share the love of song and the mission of extending the awareness of choral music to our community.