Our History

The Stockton Chorale started as a double quartet in 1951 under the direction of founder Arthur Holton II. When the Stockton Chorale became an auditioned community chorus in 1952, the Chorale sang only Handel’s Messiah for two years. The concert season was expanded gradually and now the Stockton Chorale season includes three to four major concerts yearly.

Altos, 1981

The group was led by Holton for many years and was administered through a relationship with Stockton’s Delta College in which singers enrolled in a “class” to sing in the Chorale. Frank Prather served as interim Conductor from 1965-67, and Ralph Prime from 1967-72. Although the Stockton Chorale Association was incorporated as a non-profit in 1977 to support the efforts of the singers, following the passage of California’s Proposition 13 in 1978, the Chorale was forced to separate completely from Delta College and became an independent non-profit organization.

Arthur Holton conducting, 1983

Upon Holton’s retirment in 1991, Mark Clark, then a professor at UOP, directed until 1995. Dr. Joe Miller served from 1995-1999 while Director of Vocal Music at CSU Stanislaus. From September 1999 until December 2009, Dr. Edward Cetto, Director of Vocal Music at UOP, led the group. Dr. Magen Solomon served as Artistic Director from 2010 until 2014.

Growing over the years, the Chorale became a 190-voice group in the early 1980s, though it has typically drawn between 80-100 singers members from the communities of the northern San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra foothills. 

The Chorale has performed with the Bear Valley Orchestra, dozens of times with the Stockton Symphony, eight with Sacramento Symphony, six with San Francisco Symphony, four with Glendale Symphony and Carmen Dragon, and three times with the Manhattan Symphony of New York in Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls.

1986 Pops Ensemble

Since 1981, Chorale members have participated in eight international tours: Great Britain, France and Austria, a musical tour of Australia and New Zealand, the Salzburg, Austria Music Festival, a tour of Greece and Italy. The Chorale’s concert tour to England and Wales in the summer of 1998 featured an appearance at the Shrewsbury International Music Festival. In 2001 the Chorale toured Central Europe (Prague, Vienna, Budapest); the summer of 2005 saw them visit Northern Italy and Rome, including an opportunity to sing in the Sistine Chapel. The 2007 tour took the Chorale to Scotland and Ireland.

In 2012, the Chorale celebrated its 60th anniversary season with a gala concert featuring performances with orchestra of Bach’s Magnificat and Schubert’s Mass in B-flat. The event allowed us to honor and acknowledge former singers (including two of the original octet!) and former conductors. 

60th Anniversary Slideshow

This presentation was created by Alan England as part of the Chorale’s 60th Anniversary Gala celebration in 2012.

Past Conductors of the Stockton Chorale

2010–2014 Dr. Magen Solomon
1999–2009 Dr. Edward Cetto (Curtis Mannah, interim director for remainder of
2009-2010 season)
1995–1999 Dr. Joe Miller
1991–1995 Mark Clark
1972–1991 Dr. Arthur Holton
1967–1972 Ralph Prime
1965–1967 Frank Prather
1955–1965 Dr. Arthur Holton

Singing In The Valley Since 1952