On Dec. 12, the Tapestry Singers performed a free Christmas concert at the Puyallup Public Library. From the opening flute solo by Joe Morris to the last Christmas carol, the performance was perfect. Their zippy renditions of old favorites had the audience tapping their feet.
The group, dressed in their holiday best, stood on the second level of the library, giving guests throughout the building a front row seat for the concert. It was obvious to all in attendance that the singers were enjoying themselves as much as the audience.
Joe Morris was the first member of Tapestry Singers, a not-for-profit group, in 1989.
â€œBud Bond, a community activist and real estate broker, came into my business (Puyallup Music Store) and said he was interested in starting an arts association which included a choral group, a stage band and a concert band,â€ said Morris. â€œAll three groups are still functioning.â€
Because they are an artistic group, Tapestry Singers is a member organization of Valley Arts United. They perform throughout the year at retirement centers, and in the spring they perform concerts to benefit Puyallup Food Bank, winding down the year with their holiday concerts Â– one at the Puyallup library and a second one last month on Dec. 13 at United Methodist Church, also in Puyallup.
Accompanist Chris VanBuskirk is a music teacher for K-12 students and says she just loves the music. The groupâ€™s director, Suna Chung, is the choir director at Clover Park High School.
Singer Kathy Skipper, who has been with the group since 2009, said Chung is a welcome addition to the group.
â€œWe have always had some good leaders, and every time we lose a leader we think there will never be one that can replace that one,â€ Skipper said. â€œEach one is different with different strengths, and Suna is really, really good. We are lucky she wanted the experience of leading a community choir.â€
Skipper has sung for many years, and she said the 21-member Tapestry Singers come from different backgrounds.
â€œSome people have been singing since high school,â€ she said, adding that the group is warm and friendly.
â€œI like the fact that we make some really beautiful music together,â€ she said.
Member Becky Condra has been with the group for 17 years.
â€œIâ€™ve always been a singer and wanted a choir to sing with. I love Tapestry Singers because they are a community choir and we sing a lot of different kinds of music. The friendships are wonderful,â€ said Condra.
On Dec. 12, Alice McHugh, who lives in Sumner, arrived bright and early at the library to get a good seat for the concert.
â€œI have a friend who is in the choir, and they sing a lot of songs that I know. Iâ€™ve followed them for quite a few years,â€ she said.
Sisters Deanna MacKiewcz and Dixie Bame follow their brother, Dwight Griswold, who is a member of the group. They said they try to make most of the performances and always enjoy the music.
Many of the Tapestry Singers have been musical all of their lives.
Condra said she sang in high school and college and went on a USO show tour, spending nine weeks going around Europe.
Another member, Pam Ferrell, who has been with the group for about a year, said, â€œWe are all hobby singers. The group has a family feel.â€
The members say they sing for the love of music and for companionship. Morris, who owned the Puyallup Music Store for 30 years, would agree.
â€œI enjoy the group. Music has been my life all along,â€ he said.
The group is always looking for new members, said Skipper.
â€œWe meet on Wednesday nights at United Methodist Church from 7 to 9, and anyone can come, sit in on a rehearsal and see if you like us,â€ Skipper said, adding that anyone interested can call her at 253-848-3087.
Joan Cronk, who authored this article, is a freelance writer.