The Very Beginning
On a cold December night in 1965, 14-year-old Paul Haynes was waiting for his mother, Charlotte, to pick him up. He had spent the evening learning about computer programming at his Explorer Scout meeting at NCAR, so he didn’t mind that she was a bit late, since he had become instantly enamored of programming. When she arrived uncharacteristically late, she apologized. She had been at a meeting of the chorus of the Boulder Civic Opera and the group had decided they wanted to separate and become a choral group, singing not only for Civic Opera performances (i.e., musical comedies), but all through the year. Rehearsals started a few months later.
Charlotte, who has since died, later described that early group as consisting of five sopranos, five altos, and five men. Within 2 years they took the name Boulder Chorale and started the organization that flourishes today, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary season, with Paul, whom his mother persisted in recruiting, a long-time active member!
One Rainy Evening
In June 1996, the Chorale was invited to Chautauqua Park to participate in a concert of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, then under the direction of Oswald (Ozzie) Lehnert, with Alan Yamamoto as assistant director. Chorus members arrived in their standard uniforms: tuxedos for men, white blouses and black long skirts for women. As they waited outside for their entrance (which was in the second half of the program), the sky clouded over and it began to rain. They sought shelter in the covered picnic area, but the rain and hail were so heavy the ground became flooded quickly and people climbed on the picnic tables and benches to stay dry. The piece was the Beethoven Chorale Fantasy. Even before the intermission, concert personnel realized there was a problem. Wet singers were allowed into the hall for shelter and lined the side walls, but the rain was so heavy that the floor was running with water. The pianist had to interrupt the piece before the Chorale Fantasy because the hail was so loud he could not be heard. Finally, the dripping choristers climbed the risers to perform. The audience greatly appreciated their music and their personal grit!