Their voices seamlessly blend to form glorious audio waves, gently submerging their listeners in an empyrean sound.
Singers of Chorale Coeur d'Alene lend their vocals to a great togetherness while performing sacred and secular music from contemporary, traditional and timeless pieces.
"There is nothing, nothing, like making music with other people. That is, to me, the most satisfying experience that I will ever have," said baritone Larry Almeida of Hayden, a five-year member of the choir.
"It’s wonderful in an ensemble with instruments, but it’s even more powerful to me with the voice," he said. "There is nothing like standing with people around you and you’re making this sound and it just lifts you. It’s a joyous, lifting wonderful experience."
"Our motto ought to be the same as the motto for the nation: e pluribus unum, 'out of many, one,'" said 11-year member and bass Tom Bacon of Coeur d'Alene. "We really do become one organism when we hit it just exactly right. It's one of the most thrilling things in my experience that I can have."
The roughly 80-member nonprofit Chorale Coeur d'Alene — formerly Northwest Sacred Music Chorale — has contributed to the music scene of the Inland Northwest since 2001, when founder Cynthia Marlette decided to form a local chorale to fill the gap left by decreasing church choirs.
"Having the opportunity to sing in a moderate to large chorus and to just feel that sense of the harmonies coming together, being surrounded by the music and being a part of it, it is a very special experience," said artistic director and conductor Stan McDaniel.
The chorale form of music has deep historic roots. McDaniel said it was in the temple before the time of Christ.
"The whole concept of chorale music starts with religion and with churches," he said. "Now you get to the 20th century and we have just this huge variety of different types."
The Coeur d’Alene Chorale is the only local choir harnessing this majestic sound.
"We’re the only ones with this size group and with the particular potential this group has and to do it well," McDaniel said. "There are many, many people in our region that either want to hear that music again or want to sing it again. We have a growing group. Nearly everybody who auditioned this past time said something to that effect, that they want to sing that type of music."
The Chorale is a multi-part assembly of adult vocalists. Its extensive repertoire ranges from Ralph Vaughan Williams' 1905 hymn "For All The Saints" to Morten Lauridsen’s modern celestial "Lux Aeterna."
Soprano Rachel Jordan, 26, is one of the youngest members who actively sought a chorale group after moving to the area from Seattle, where she sang in college.
"It’s kind of like a soul workout," she said. "I feel physically better after singing."
The Chorale recognizes and encourages young singers each year through its Young Artist Vocal Scholarship Competition. Winners are announced in December and get to sing with the Chorale in the spring.
"We are at a stage in our society where chorale music, and the skills that are needed to develop, direct and create it, need leadership," McDaniel said. "We need to provide opportunities for people that have special talents to receive experiences that will help them along the road to become future chorale singers and chorale directors."
Each season begins with auditions and a retreat in the fall, followed by a concert series that concludes in late spring.
The first concert of the 2018-2019 season is "Made in the USA," a celebration of 20th century American music, and will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 812 N. Fifth St. in Coeur d'Alene at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and 2 p.m. Nov. 10. The concert will also take place at the First Presbyterian Church in Spokane on Nov. 17.
"Christmas by Candlelight" will also be at Trinity in Coeur d’Alene at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 8.
Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and military and $10 for students.
Tickets and info: www.choralecda.com