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Allegheny Chorale welcomes new director

The Allegheny Chorale, a group comprised of singers from Tyrone, Bellwood, Huntingdon and Altoona has welcomed a new director, Debbie Huff Estright.
Estright replaces longtime Chorale director, Laura Harris, who decided to take a break after 15 years as director of the group.
“I’m just honored to be asked to lead this group that has such a strong history under the former direction of Laura Harris,” said Estright.
Anna Myers is the group’s accompanist, and Estright’s sister, Susan Daly, is the assistant accompanist.
The Chorale prepares two concert programs each year, one for December and another for May. Performances take place in Huntingdon and Tyrone.
The Chorale has always been open to anyone who loves to sing, and there are no auditions.
There are new Chorale members this year, and the group will continue to accept members until the Tuesday, October 11 practice at the Tyrone Area High School choral room at 7 p.m. Interested individuals should attend this practice.
Estright’s goals for her first year as director are to continue to lead the group in its strong musical tradition and to have everyone enjoy learning to make music and to ultimately perform for an audience.
Estright said this year the group is focusing on some new music that spans different styles.
“I’m very excited with this job as director and have really enjoyed the month of practices so far. I’m really looking forward to this season with Chorale,” she added.
Estright is a 1983 graduate of Tyrone Area High School, and she graduated from IUP with a bachelors degree in music education in 1987. She currently teaches elementary music at Williamsburg School District.
She is the daughter of Reverend Norman and Anna Mae Huff. She is married to Karl Estright, and together they have three children: Tyler, Zachary and Emily.
The Chorale’s first season was 1985-86, and its 20th anniversary was the past 2004-05 season. Dr. Joseph W. Figg, who was the director of vocal and choral activities at Juniata College, directed the Chorale from 1985 until 1990. Harris directed the Chorale from 1990 to 2005.
Besides Myers, other Chorale accompanists over the years have been Joan Smith, Nora Figg and Sonya DeArmitt. The Chorale has been accompanied by piano, organ, brass ensembles, string ensembles, harp and bell choirs as well.
In addition to its annual Tyrone and Huntingdon concerts, the Chorale has performed with the Altoona Symphony and at the Hollidaysburg Presbyterian Church. They also perform portions of concerts for residents at Garvey Manor and Valley View.
Music for the Chorale is selected by a committee of Chorale members. Members of the first music committees included Georgia Roberts, Donna Ray, Margaret Sheridan, Joan Smith and Laura Harris. The group was re-organized in 1985 by Steve Stoner, Georgia Roberts, Donna Ray and Robert Dawson. The first board of directors included Dawson, Ray, Roberts, Stoner, Reverend Norman Huff, George Stevens Jr., and Ellen Wallace. The first board of trustees included Deborah Hiller, R. Gerald Roberts and Margaret Sheridan.