History of the Chorale

Arthur J. Holton, II (1983)
Arthur J. Holton, II (1983)

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.

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, following the passage of California's Proposition 13 in 1978, the Chorale separated completely from Delta College and became an independent non-profit organization.

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. Currently Dr. Magen Solomon serves as Artistic Director and Conductor.

Growing over the years, 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.

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 designed by Alan England as part of the 60th Anniversary Gala events in 2012.

Past Presidents of the Stockton Chorale Association

Dorsey Meyer, Sr. 1978-1985
Lamar Parish 1985-1987
Bob Kastner 1987-1988
Reva Williams 1988-1990
Cathy Tanner 1990-1991
Michael Holm 1991-1992
Pat Meyer 1992-1993
Maxine Garrison 1993-1995
Maynard Bostwick 1995-1996
Lorraine Baldwin 1996-1997
Clara Kaiser 1997-1999
Steven Darling 1999-2000
Clara Kaiser 2000-2001
Curtis Mannah 2001-2003
Steven Darling 2003-2004
Al Lingenfelter 2004-2005
Sharon Brenneise 2005-2007
Phillip Spohn 2007-2009
Edward Almaas 2009-2011
All contents © The Stockton Chorale
This page updated 02 October 2013


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