Carson City’s Chorus of the Comstock: an intermission or ‘fin’?
After 75 years of harmonious tones produced by a mix of Carson City’s male a cappella singers, Chorus of the Comstock perished in February.
But is it possible to resurrect it?
For longtime members such as Nick Nicosia and David Remer, they say it’s possible – but unlikely.
They said the director of the ensemble left and it’s a challenge to find a replacement.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Remer said. “It could be reconstituted but the ideas we tried have not been working.”
The choir is also in need of a performance venue. Nicosia, who lives in Virginia City, tried to encourage 20 of the members in Carson City to commute to Piper’s Opera House.
He also was the general manager of Saint Mary’s in the Mountains for four years, in regards to the location.
While the venue agreed to host rehearsals, the members felt commuting up the hill on a regular basis would be difficult, especially with the recent winter weather.
The median age in the group is 70.
“I want to merge people from all over the region to expand the choir — Dayton, Gardnerville, Minden — everywhere,” Nicosia said. “We also need younger generations to join us.”
Chorus of the Comstock isn’t the only choir going through these issues. The Reno Silver Dollar Chorus also lost its director and doesn’t have a place to rehearse.
Nicosia said the ensemble is four times bigger than Comstock’s and considered combining both to create the Comstock Silver Dollar Chorus – an iconic and historical way to represent Nevada’s Bonanza.
Alas, the idea is at a halt since members expressed their concerns about the commute.
“It came to me in my sleep,” Nicosia said. “It would save 75 years of history to merge both and recruit a director. I think it would gain worldwide recognition.”
Chorus of the Comstock originated on part of the barbershop music craze in the 1930s and 40s. The group is registered with Barbershop Harmony Society, which was established in 1938 in Kansas City, Mo.
Since then, both the Reno Silver Dollar Chorus and Chorus of the Comstock have performed in civic functions in Carson City, Douglas County, Reno, and Sparks. They performed in events and venues such as Genoa’s Candy Dance, Virginia City’s Pipers Opera House, local Christmas tree lightnings, Reno Air Races, and rodeos.
Remer said chorus members officially submitted their charter in 1978, as it took four years to go through the process.
He was involved with the chorus for 42 years. His wife, Jaquie, is the chapter president of Sweet Adelines International, a four-part a cappella women’s ensemble based in Reno.
Remer believes the choir has reached its end for good, but he couldn’t be more thankful for the Carson City community.
“The community has been wonderful to us over the many years,” he said. “The senior centers were open to us as well. No other community could be any kinder.”
However, Nicosia begs to differ. He believes the chorus could be reconstituted, but within time. He also said he’s open to public comment and tips, and can be reached by email at email@example.com.
“Maybe this was meant to happen,” Nicosia said. “Maybe it’s meant to be like this.”