The Huntsville High School Choir program is hoping to unite with vocally talented members of the community during an upcoming concert at the new Performing Arts Center at Sam Houston State University on Nov. 16.

The choir, under the leadership of director Clay West, will be performing “Requiem,” by popular composer John Rutter in the PAC’s concert hall, with a community chorus being formed to lend their voices to the choir.

“We are trying to put together a community chorus to sing with the high school,” West said. “Rehearsals will take place from 7:30-9 p.m. on Mondays, beginning Sept. 13, at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville.”

All members of the community are welcome to be part of the community chorus. A commitment to weekly rehearsals and the purchase of music, for about $8, are all that is required.

“The chorus will sing during a portion of ‘Requiem,’” West said. “The HHS Choir will perform the first part and the chorus will join in following a brief intermission.”

West has many hopes for the upcoming performance — that it will be a challenging and educational experience for his students, and at the same time revive the community chorus that once existed in Huntsville.

“This all started last year when I decided I wanted to start challenging the choir with more major choral works,” West said. “And as music teachers part of what we teach our students is how to act at a formal concert.

“Combining more challenging musical pieces with the experience of performing a large music hall is a great learning tool.”

West, studied music at SHSU, said he has worked with other choirs on “Requiem” before, and is happy to bring the piece to his students at Huntsville High.

“The music will be a stretch for us,” he said. “Although it is a short work — about 45 minutes long — it is a difficult piece. It will be a big step to sing this piece, but so far it is coming along nicely.

“And the addition of a community chorus will add depth to the sound and a hint of maturity to the performance,” he added. “It is a great opportunity for those who love to sing.

“It would be nice to put a group like (the community chorus) back together again.”

The Nov. 16 performance is a ticketed event, with funds raised to be used for the HHS choir’s trip to New York in May of 2011. More details about the concert are forthcoming.

According to West, the Huntsville High School choir program is continuing to grow, with 100 students participating in credited and after school choir programs — about 25 more students that in 2009-10.

“A show choir, formed as an after-school activity last year, was integrated into a class this year,” he said. “A Gospel choir has been formed this year as an after school program.”

To join the community chorus, interested voices can contact West at cwest@huntsville-isd.org or (936) 293-2626, Ext. 2625 or “just show up for rehearsal.”