Jim Sikes retiring after 20 years as conductor of East Alabama Civic Chorale, passes baton to Auburn resident Dale Peterson


Special to the
Opelika Observer

After more than 20 years as conductor of the East Alabama Civic Chorale, Jim Sikes is retiring and passing the conductor’s baton to Dale Peterson.
According to Peterson, “retiring is not the correct word to use in this situation. In fact, Jim has graciously accepted the position of Conductor Emeritus of the Civic Chorale.” Peterson added, “Having Jim present to offer his guidance and advice has already been of immense help to me during this transitional period. And having Liza Weisbrod continue as pianist for the Chorale offers still more continuity.”
Philip Preston, director of the East Alabama Arts Association, which sponsors the chorale, said, “Jim Sikes has been a fixture in our musical community for over two decades. His love for music and people, combined with his dedicated leadership and hard work, has laid the foundation that will sustain the Civic Chorale for years to come. East Alabama Arts offers our best wishes to Jim as he turns the page and passes the baton to Dale Peterson. Dale will be a dynamic force in developing quality choral music opportunities for the citizens of East Alabama, and we will all benefit- both those who love to sing, and those who love to listen.”
Long time chorale member Charles Gross when reflecting on Jim’s leadership said, “Jim was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice and an excellent sense of pitch, and the ability to sight-read and sing all the choral parts. In short he is a gifted musician. Also both he and his wife Aimee generously gave of their time and money to the Civic Chorale for over twenty years.”
Liza Weisbrod, the chorale’s pianist, spoke on Jim’s selection of music.
“Jim Sikes always chose good, challenging music which provided a variety of musical experiences.” Peterson added, “It’s easy to understand why taking over as conductor following Jim’s long, successful tenure is such an awesome responsibility.”
The East Alabama Civic Chorale will have its first rehearsal with its new conductor Dale Peterson on Sept. 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Southside Center for the Arts, which is located at 1103 Glenn St. in Opelika. The chorale is open to all who enjoy singing and have previously sung in any choir. No audition is required. “I look forward to a wonderful year of making beautiful choral music with the Civic Choral,” Peterson said.


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