December 3, 2013 - 11:28 am
Because of his lifelong passion for music, Myron Heaton created a local singing group, which has taken his name.
The Myron Heaton Chorale has been around more than 20 years, performing at local churches and festivals around the world.
The group is slated to perform at 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2 S. Pecos Road.
Admission is free.
As the event draws near, Heaton, the group’s namesake, reflected on the journey of creating the group.
Growing up in North Dakota, he remembered being infatuated with music since he was 5 years old. However, he never pursued it because of a bad experience with a music teacher.
“I remember one teacher telling me I was monotoned,” he said. “It’s such a horrible term. She would send (the children she said couldn’t sing) over to the corner and tell us to sit and look nice.”
But music was redeemed for him in middle school.
Another teacher worked with him and other students to become better at singing.
“It really inspired me,” he added.
Along with singing, Heaton fell in love with the idea of becoming a conductor. From high school on, he was certain that was what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He graduated high school and attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
After college, he worked as a musical director.
He arrived in Las Vegas in 1984 to fill two positions: one with the Clark County School District as an educational music specialist and one at Community Lutheran Church.
He slowly transitioned to Community Lutheran Church full time to take over its worship.
While working for the church, he was asked to be a guest conductor at a convention. The opportunity required him to guide an ensemble composed of people from several Lutheran churches across the city.
After the event’s success, the group was invited to perform in a cultural tour throughout Europe.
Pleased with the outcome of the trip, Heaton said the singers discussed organizing a group that would continue to perform throughout Las Vegas and internationally when the opportunity presented itself.
“They formed a board of directors right there on the plane,” he said.
The Myron Heaton Chorale was born, becoming a nonprofit in 1990.
Its mission was to build a professional choral organization.
“If you look at cities that are a similar size, they have more choral groups than we do,” Heaton said.
David Drach-Meinel, the pastor at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, said it’s nice to have a group like this around town.
“People think of Vegas as having plenty of entertainment,” he said. “There isn’t a lot of options for locals.”
He added that the chorale is one of the hidden gems of the city.
“It has singers who have worked at ‘Jersey Boys’ on the Strip,” he said. “It has such a variety of talent.”
The group has travel internationally to China, throughout Europe and Mexico.
“We are planning to return to China in two years,” Heaton said.
Heaton said the Christmas performance is expected to feature Christmas carols from Italy, France and Germany.
“We will be singing a lot of them in English,” he said. But the group still plans to do some in the original languages.
Drach-Meinel said he is excited for the night because he is expected to debut one of his pieces.
“It is really neat this was able to come about,” he said.
For more information on the group, visit myronheatonchorale.org/fr_home.cfm.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.