A History of the GREENVILLE CHORALE

A History of the GREENVILLE CHORALE

 

 

 

revised January 2022

The Greenville Chorale was organized in 1961 as the “Rotary Civic Chorale” sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greenville. The founding director, William Jarvis, was a Rotarian and Minister of Music at Pendleton Street Baptist Church.

Beginning with forty-five singers, the Chorale’s mission was to provide the upstate area with a strong, symphonic community chorus. So well-received was this effort, that seven years later (1968) the “Greenville Civic Chorale Association” was chartered by the state of South Carolina, and the Chorale became self-sustaining. In 1987, the official title became The Greenville Chorale.

The Chorale grew steadily under the leadership of Dr. Milburn Price, conductor during 1967-1981. Dr. Bingham Vick, Jr. became Artistic Director and Conductor in 1981. Since that time, the Chorale has maintained capacity membership of 150+ singers, solidified its place as South Carolina’s premier symphonic chorus, and presented highly praised concerts, performing regularly with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville SC.

The Chorale’s regular concert schedule includes five performances each season:

  • Fall concert with GSO at the Peace Center;
  • “Christmas with the Chorale” in December, with performance in McAlister Auditorium at Furman University;
  • Spring concert, usually at First Baptist Church, Greenville;
  • A summer concert with the Furman Lakeside Band at the Furman Lake;
  • and a February concert by the professional Herring Chamber Ensemble.

The Chorale began biennial December concert performances with the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra in 2006.

Founded in 1997, the Herring Chamber Ensemble (24 professional singers from the membership of the full Chorale) presents an annual winter concert, in addition to performing run-out concerts throughout the year for special events. This core of outstanding musicians is supported by a generous gift from Sarah and Gordon Herring.

Over the past 60 years, the Greenville Chorale has performed most of the great oratorios, choral-orchestral works, and significant choral music in the repertoire of Western music. In addition to their own concert season, the Chorale collaborates with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra for special concerts in the GSO season, as well.

The MISSION of the Greenville Chorale is celebrate and promote the art of choral music and to bring together vocal and orchestral artists to provide the region with a professional symphonic chorus for the purpose of re-creating great music to enrich the soul and enjoyment of both performer and listener.

The VISION of the Chorale is to perform concerts of the great choral masterworks at the highest level of excellence, support the creative and artistic lives of singers at all stages of their musical development, and reach into the community to bring the power of live performance to as many people as possible.

 

Repertoire Summary: Particularly Significant Concerts

  • 1960’s – performances of Verdi Requiem, Haydn The Creation, Mendelssohn Elijah, Mozart Requiem, Bach Magnificat, Brahms A German Requiem
  • 1970’s and 1980’s – oratorios, requiems, and masses by Mozart, Poulenc, Fauré, Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Handel
  • 1984- beginning of annual December concerts: “Christmas with the Chorale”
  • 1988 – first performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Greenville Chorale
  • 1993 – Chorale and GSO performed Prokofiev’s film version of Alexander Nevsky
    both in Greenville and at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC.
  • 1994 – South Carolina premier performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem
  • 1996 – Mahler Symphony No. 8 “Symphony of a Thousand” with GSO
  • 1999 – Chorale performed a program of the music of Randall Thompson for the
    Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.
  • 2000-2001 – 40th Anniversary Season concert,
    Berlioz Requiem with combined forces of Chorale, GSO, and Furman ensembles
  • 2005 – 45th Anniversary Season concert,
    commissioned choral/orchestral work by Mark Kilstofte, Of Rivers Within
  • 2006 – first of biennial December collaboration concert with Hendersonville Symphony
  • 2007 (August) – Mahler Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection Symphony”
    at Brevard Music Center, North Carolina
  • 2009 – first South Carolina performance of Rachmaninoff “Vespers” (All-Night Vigil)
  • 2010 – 50th Anniversary Season concert,
    commissioned works by Dan Forrest and Robert Powell
  • 2012 – first of annual spring concerts at First Baptist Church, Greenville
  • 2012 – first concert of Rodgers and Hammerstein music with GSO
  • 2014 – SC premier of full orchestral version, Dan Forrest Requiem for the Living
  • 2016 – Greenville premier performance of Mahler Symphony No. 3
  • 2017 – fall premier of new choral-orchestral work by Dan Forrest
  • 2020-21 – 60th Anniversary Season
    • Fall: Johannes Brahms “A German Requiem”
    • Music by Dan Forrest, commissioned for the Chorale
    • December: Handel’s “MESSIAH”
    • February: J.S.Bach’s “B-minor Mass”
    • Herring Chamber Ensemble and chamber orchestra
    • Spring: “Celebrate 60” – selections from 60 years of great choral music
      more….

The Greenville Chorale has perfomed….

  • Bach Magnificat 4 times
  • Bach Mass in B-Minor 3 times
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 9 “Choral” 6 times
  • Beethoven Missa Solemnis in D 2 times
  • Bernstein Chichester Psalms 4 times
  • Brahms A German Requiem 6 times
  • Fauré Requiem 4 times
  • Handel Messiah 8 times
  • Haydn the Creation 3 times
  • Haydn Lord Nelson Mass 4 times
  • Mahler Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” 4 times
  • Mendelssohn Elijah 4 times
  • Mozart Requiem 4 times
  • Orff Carmina Burana 4 times
  • Poulenc Gloria 3 times
  • Rutter Gloria 4 times
  • Vaughan Williams Dona nobis pacem 3 times
  • Verdi Requiem 6 times

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The Greenville Chorale is Funded in Part By:

Metropolitan Arts Council