MM Stories: Diana C.

Marissa and Diana, Mom and Daughter

Marissa and Diana, Mom and Daughter

I missed singing in choir, like I did when I was in high school at Lodi High in Lodi.

After all these many years, I had heard of Mountain Melody and had seen them perform and was thinking about joining, but never had the nerve (auditions!) But I finally got the nerve up, and did it, and have had so much fun meeting everyone and singing. Even when I’m tired and sore, I go home feeling rejuvenated and happy. Music has always made me happy and it’s wonderful to be singing again after 33 years of not singing. I don’t know what else I can say other than it is FUN!
Diana C., Member since 2012

MM Stories: Wendy H.



I sang in choral groups in high school and college, then informally with friends over the years, but really missed the experience of singing in a choir. I love being in the “surround sound” of a group singing various parts and adding my own voice to the mix. It’s a magical experience. I heard about Mountain Melody and loved the idea of an all women’s choral group, and it was within driving distance here in the mountains. I hate and love that we memorize the music – it pushes my envelope in a good way. I have loved making new life long friends I would have never met except for this group. I appreciate that we are expected to work hard. And I appreciate that we make a beautiful sound that brings joy to others.

Wendy H., Member since 2009

MM Stories: Carol M.

Carol M.

Beautiful Carol

I was one of five siblings growing up in a family that sang songs every time we were in the car. I always held the melody as some of my sisters and brothers were more musically inclined.

When I joined the original nine members of Mountain Melody I was just in it for the fun. Little did I know that I would be a Soprano 2, not singing the melody for most songs and that we would be memorizing and performing our music. It is fun, but oh so challenging at times. The rewards of memorization are an unexpected bonus.

I love singing with the delightful musically talented women. They have helped bring me along an unexpected path of singing. After 10 years with the choir, I am beginning to hold my own and can even sing harmonies with my family.

I thank MM for reducing the number of crossword puzzles and Sudoku I need to do to keep my brain cells firing.

At our first performance I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I had never intended to sing in a performing choir. I now love it. I can’t stop smiling when we sing together at our concerts.

Carol M., Member since 2005

MM Stories: Tari T.

Tari, Grace and Lee

Tari, Grace and Lee

In May of 2013, my husband and I bought a little house in Mountain Ranch. We were pretty familiar with the Murphys area in Calaveras County, but didn’t know much about Mountain Ranch. A neighbor had invited me to an event at the Resource Center, and after a day of house painting, I went down there to check it out.

I met several of my neighbors, including Julie and Bill who I found out lived right across the street. While we were chatting, Julie asked me, “do you sing?” And I said “yeah.”

Then she told me about her group, Mountain Melody, and invited me to come hear them sing at Mountain Ranch’s Day In The Park. I did, and I liked the group, and I decided to try out for it. I remember coming to my first rehearsal, and I was late, as I was driving up from the Bay Area, and of course there was traffic. When I got to the music room, I tried to sneak in and grab a seat, but everyone cheered for me, which was quite a nice welcome! I have really been enjoying the experience of singing with a choral group, as I really hadn’t done it much before. It’s so gratifying to learn new music, memorize it, and perform it. It’s a wonderful group, and I am thrilled to be a part of it!

Tari T., member since 2013

MM Stories: Rene F.

Last Minute Instuctions by Julie

Last Minute Instructions

I moved to Calaveras county in 2013 knowing no one other than my wonderful, new husband. When I caught a nasty cold I went to the prompt care in Angels Camp. The physician on call was a woman about my age, and she asked about my hobbies and when I shared that I had been a member of a singing group in the valley she immediately told me about Mountain Melody. She told me about their spring concert in San Andreas, within a few weeks, and recommended I go take a “look see”. I did just that and I was blown away with what I heard. I could not believe the wonderful blending of voices and quality. I did not know if my voice would fit in or if I was indeed qualified to be a member, but I called Julie and did an audition. The rest is history I guess. But the thing that has become clear to me… it is not just the music that this group is about…it is about the wonderful people who do the singing…this group of ladies have welcomed me with open hearts and hands. I am privileged to know them and so blessed to join my voice with the lovely, melodious voices in this choir.

Rene F. Member since 2013

MM Stories: Grace M.


Bedazzled Grace

The summer of 2007 a garden tour was offered to anyone interested in gardening, or in my case, becoming more familiar with Mountain Ranch’s surrounding areas. A luncheon, to be held in the Mountain Ranch Community Hall, was also offered. Wonderful. I sent in my money and received a tour map. The tour was to be on Sunday; on Saturday I made a dry run to familiarize myself with the routes to the gardens being shown. All went well, and the next day I set out for the real thing. I thought I was on my way to the fourth garden, when I realized with a jolt that I had somehow gotten twisted up and was on Whiskey Slide Road heading right down to Mountain Ranch. Well, I decided that since it was lunch time I’d go straight to the Hall to eat. Lunch was fine, and there was an added attraction: a small group of women from Mountain Melody were there to sing for us. Their outfits looked to me like dyed potato sacks, BUT once they began singing I was hooked — by their spirit, blend, and the joy they expressed through their music. What started out as a wrong turn brought me to this wonderful group and I have been a member ever since. It was truly meant to be.

Grace M., Member since 2007

MM Stories: Yebuny J.

Yebuny and Cordy

Yebuny and Cordy

I first discovered Mountain Melody 6 months after we moved to Calaveras and was drawn to it immediately for 3 reasons:

  1. – love and respect for the gal who introduced me to it, Grace
  2. – the chorus is not affiliated with any church or religion
  3. – it’s an all women’s chorus and I was missing being in community with a group of gals

It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It nourished parts of my soul that needed it badly and helped me accomplish a personal goal to get my voice back by singing regularly and learning new material consistently.

In my second season I became pregnant and wow, what a gift! My little girl grew inside the womb surrounded by a beautiful chorus of voices and music. I was also fortunate to be able to sing a solo by one of my all-time favorite artists during that season: Respect by Otis Redding. What a hoot to be fully pregnant and get to sing about that stuff!

My daughter, Cordelia was born on July 16, 2014 conveniently between sessions. The choir has been kind enough to accommodate me bringing her to practice so I can continue breastfeeding and continue singing and affectionately call her “the littlest member.” Cordelia just loves it and as a result has spent her whole life on this planet so far surrounded by music and boasts 20+ extra aunties! 

I am forever grateful for the love, support, and friendship being a part of the chorus has provided me. The community of women is just extraordinary- an eclectic variety of talent with such kindness toward each other and our greater community and such passion for music.

Yebuny J., Member since 2013

MM Stories: Vicki W.

Vicki and Jen

Vicki and Jen

In February 2014, I moved to Mountain Ranch and I met our neighbors Bill & Julie. After conversing for a while, Julie asked me if I sang and my husband answered yes! Next thing I know, I’m going to practice with Julie to listen. I was in awe when I heard the group sing! I wasn’t able to audition for Mountain Melody until September of that year but am oh so glad I did! What a fabulous group of women with beautiful voices! Cudos to Julie for bringing them all together!

Vicki W., Member since 2014

MM Stories: Gay H-M.

Gay H-M.

Beautiful Gay

Marilu & I were invited by Julie to sing with a small group of like-minded women shortly after the original (7). We joined the group before we had a name or an accompanist and Don was still singing with us. At one point the name, “The Queen Bees and One Drone” was a suggested name. We chose “Mountain Melody”. Some of our first gigs included marching in parades in Moke Hill, walking directly behind the fire trucks which we learned was not a good place for us. We continued singing wherever we could and slowly have progressed over the years to where we are now. I have seen members come & go and yet, there are still some of us who have continued year after year. I have nothing but praise for Julie whose LIGHT, talent, and dedication has carried us through and made us what we are today. Mostly, I love music which is to be shared with everybody!
Gay H-M., Member since 2005

MM Stories: Lee D.

Lovely Lee

Lovely Lee

I was not one of the ‘originals’, but as soon as I heard there was a chorus forming I signed up. At the time I joined we were doing parades, singing as we marched, which was challenging for some of us. We had no accompaniment except for Julie’s pitch pipe to give us our starting note and hadn’t really decided on the name Mountain Melody yet. I remember some hilarious sessions in which names were brainstormed. I particularly liked The Perfect Pitches, but we discarded that one because we didn’t have perfect pitch and one could so easily change the last p to b. I’ve really enjoyed the companionship and musical stretching I’ve had in my years with Mountain Melody.
Lee D., Member since 2005