Our History

Over the course of its forty-nine seasons, the Tyler Civic Chorale has become a fixture in the Tyler community, its sound an embodiment of the excellence possible only through the collective dedication of a multitude of voices.

1968

The inaugural concert is held in Wise Auditorium at Tyler Junior College.

1973

Richard Herr begins a 29-year tenure as artistic director, during which time he establishes the Chorale as the premier choral ensemble in the community. Presenting such venerated repertoire as Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation, the Chorale’s membership garners a reputation as a rigorous arts organization.

2002

Frode Gundersen is named to replace Mr. Herr at his retirement. The Chorale transitions to a chamber model; the name is changed to Tyler Chamber Chorale, and its singers are limited to 32, 8 to a section.

2006

Donald W. Duncan is appointed artistic director and, under his leadership, the Chorale begins a new era of increasing community involvement. Special joint concerts, such as the Patriotic Concert, and events free and open to the public, such as the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, strengthen ties with other Tyler choral groups and the community at large.

2009

The Board of Directors votes to return to the “Civic Chorale” nomenclature and lifts the membership restriction. Since that time, the Chorale’s auditioned membership has fluctuated between 35 and 50.

2016

A delegation of Chorale members joins forces with other Tyler-area choristers to take a choir to England and Scotland, where they participate in choral residencies at Ripon Cathedral and St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, exploring and reflecting on their vocal practice in the venerated churches where modern choral history was born.

2017

The Tyler Civic Chorale celebrates its fiftieth season, half a century of fine choral music and fellowship.  Weston Jennings is named artistic and executive director.

 

A Note on Repertoire

Now beginning its 50th season as Tyler’s premier choral ensemble, the Tyler Civic Chorale continues to bring to life an impressive range of music, from great, sacred masterworks to beloved American folk songs and carols. Over the course of its history— with most of the last half-century in residence at First Presbyterian Church—the Chorale has sung large works by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Vaughan Williams and Kodaly, and other masses, motets, cantatas, and oratorios.

While the major corpus of choral music is drawn from the Western Christian church, the Chorale also seeks to honor a great breadth of musical traditions extending beyond the sacred, engaging with the 20th-century American songbook, modern composers, folk songs and carols, madrigal compositions, and more.