PENDLETON - Area residents will have the rare opportunity to hear the Whitney Women's Chorale perform in Pendleton June 4.

The chorale's varied repertoire includes sacred music of the 16th century up to and including the present day. They sing music of the masters, traditional sacred music, sacred ethnic music of many cultures, Gospel songs, spirituals and patriotic music.

Under the leadership of the founder and director, Constance Branton, and with the skillful piano accompaniment of Carolyn Panko, the chorale has gained a reputation for excellence in music.

Whitney Women's Chorale began in 1982 when a small group of women sang at a Sunday morning worship service. Now, 22 years later, the chorale is a non-profit, inter-denominational choir of 35-40 women from Boise and nearby communities. They range in age from teenagers to great-grandmothers and represent a diversity of occupations and churches.

Branton graduated from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., with a degree in music. She also has a master's degree in music education from Boise State University. Branton has been teaching choirs in the Boise school district since 1981. In addition to Whitney Women's Chorale and a Tone Chime Choir, she conducts a men's singing ensemble at Whitney United Methodist Church. She is past president of the American Choral Directors' Association in Idaho and the Northwest region.

Panko has been piano and organ accompanist for the chorale since its inception. She is the organist at Whitney United Methodist Church in Boise, a position she has held since 1968. She taught American government in the Boise school district until her retirement in June 2001. She studied organ in her native Texas at Southwest University.

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