Alison Skinner, choral director

An amazing leader!

“Having Alison as our new choral director is a high point for everyone as she fits our culture so well. The choir enjoys her great sense of humor, exceptional skills both in leadership and choral conducting, and her willingness to allow the choir space as we transition through this change.  She’s amazing.”  – Julie Hardin, executive director/alto

“I’ve been singing under Ken for seventeen years and there are choristers who’ve been singing with him for longer. It was hard to imagine recovering from a loss like that. But Alison has been more than we ever could have hoped for in a new director… I hope I can sing under Alison for another seventeen years” – Steve Nicholson, baritone


Alison Skinner, was appointed to the position of Sierra Master Chorale’s director in January, 2019. She follows SMC’s founding choral director Ken Hardin who stepped down from the podium following SMC’s Holiday 2018 performances.  Her first set of concerts for the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra will be on May 19 and 21, 2019.

Alison Skinner grew up in California in a musical family, with many instrumentalists, singers and music appreciators.  Singing Christmas carols- in parts – was a family tradition at the holidays.  A third generation choral conductor (her grandmother and aunt before her), she has always felt like conducting is “home.” She started her musical training at the piano​ ​but quickly moved onto singing and has been singing in choirs since elementary school.  Alison sang with every conductor she could during her years growing up in Davis and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in vocal performance.  She then went on to study with Alan Harler at Temple University in Philadelphia, and earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Temple.  Before returning to her hometown of Davis in 2008, Alison lived in Philadelphia where she was the Artistic Director of the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, taught high school music at Germantown Friends School and was the assistant conductor of Philadelphia’s Choral Arts Society.

 For the past ten years, Alison has been conducting choirs in Northern California. She is the Artistic Director of the Davis Chorale, the Music Director and choir conductor at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, and is thrilled to have been appointed the choir director of SMC.

Aside from conducting choirs, she spends time with her children, hikes, swims and occasionally has time to cook.