A Boulder Chorale History

In 1966, members of the chorus of the Boulder Civic Opera decided to become a separate entity, available to the Opera for performances, but also rehearsing and performing independently. According to one of those members, the group consisted of 5 sopranos, 5 altos, and 3 men. And that was the start.

Today, the Boulder Chorale is inter-generational, with 150-200 singers aged 6 to 88, and 5 ensembles performing separately and together, in collaboration with other local musicians, for a total of 8-10 professional performances annually, plus additional free, public concerts at high-profile community events/venues.

Several milestones over the last 50 years yielded this substantial growth. In 1968 the small group found a director, Caroline Bowles (later Wayland), who would lead it until 1986. Performances became regularly scheduled events; the repertoire expanded beyond operatic sounds. Collaborations with the Boulder Philharmonic, Boulder Symphony (Timberline), Longmont and Jefferson Symphony Orchestras, became common. These ongoing associations earned it the respect of the music community. By 2001, the Chorale began planning concert tours internationally and has sponsored tours to China, Italy, Austria, Greece, Costa Rica, Central Europe, and Quebec.

Several talented Artistic and Executive Directors (see below) followed, developing the musical skills of singers, broadening repertoire, and generally improving the musical level of the Chorale. In the first decade of this century, active Board members and Artistic Director Tim Snyder created a strategic plan, under which volunteers and staff:

• designed a regular season program,
• began outreach to community members who might not be able to afford or get to our performances,
• expanded our educational mission by creating the Boulder Children’s Chorale, and
• developed infrastructure to promote the Chorale’s artistic growth and maintain organizational stability.

The One Song, One Boulder project during our 50th anniversary year is a stunning culmination of the Chorale’s past history and of its current standing as Boulder’s largest community chorus. Undertakings like these reflect the time-tested values of musical excellence, education, community, collaboration, solidarity, and vitality. Officers, Board members, and singers young and old are especially excited to share the history of loving to sing together by recruiting 50 groups in the Boulder area to experience along with us the treasure of building community through song. Under Artistic Director Vicki Burrichter in this 50th anniversary year the Chorale will:

• cement its role as a large chorus singing a major work with orchestra (Brahms’ Schicksalslied with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra,
• offer a community celebration in a diverse holiday concert,
• collaborate with Kutandara Marimba to reprise the Misa Tariro (Mass of Hope) we premiered in 2008,
• commission an anniversary work with an original poem,
• and look forward with hints of future directions, including African-American and jazz offerings.

Artistic Directors
1966–1967 Holly Conant, Duane Staggers
1968–1986 Caroline Bowles Wayland
1987–1988 Wally Hamilton, Gary Mabry
1988–1993 Gregory Norton
1993–1995 William Witwer
1995–2000 Laura Dreilich (Gillette)
2000–2001 Lei Ray Yu
2001–2010 Timothy C.Snyder
2010–2012 Ben Riggs
2012–2015 Dr. James Kim
2015 Dr. Vicki Burrichter

Executive Directors
2008–2011 JoAn Segal
2011–2012 Gary Zeff
2012–2014 Janet Evans
2014–2015 Beth Parish
2015 Ethan Hecht