For the past nearly 10 years, The Woodlands Chorale has served as a musical outlet for members of the community while giving the gift of song to residents.
The Woodlands Chorale was founded as its own independent organization in May 2009. Prior to that the organization was known as The Woodlands Symphony Chorus as it was affiliated with The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director Dave Faber said. The two entities parted ways following the Great Recession in 2008 when The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra was forced to disband.
“We’re a volunteer organization of people who love to sing chorale music and want to share that love with an appreciative audience,” Faber said. “I would say we have a fairly sophisticated palate as far as community choruses go, as we have performed a wide variety of music that is educational and challenging but at the same time entertaining.”
Since the split, the organization has grown from the founding 30-35 members in 2009 to 68 members this year, President Rick Ray said. The organization has also developed a leadership team and performs two major concerts each year following the conclusion of its spring and fall seasons.
In the past the chorale has performed works such as Mozart’s “Requiem,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and Brahm’s “Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52” among others.
“We have a number of music teachers in our organization, and I take that as a real compliment that they’re interested in singing with us,” Faber said. “They’re looking at our repertoire and they say, ‘I haven’t done this since I was in college,’ and they love the opportunity to do it again.”
During the season chorale, members practice every Tuesday from 7-9:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church. Chorale members pay $100 dues each season, which includes the purchase of music and contributes to the nonprofit’s ability to operate. The chorale breaks during the summer and for three weeks in the winter.
“We do sacred music as well, but because we’re not affiliated with a church we’re able to reach beyond one specific religion and also do secular pieces of many varieties and origins,” Faber said.
Auditions for the chorale are held prior to each season one week before the first rehearsal. Although the ability to read basic musical notation is required, previous choral experience is not required—however it is preferred, Faber said.
“We rarely tell someone ‘no,’ but on those few occasions when I have, it was because I felt like that person would be lost in our organization—maybe because they don’t read music or they’ve never sung in a choir before,” Faber said. “We do auditions twice a year, so if someone were to miss one, it’s not that long before they have an opportunity to audition with us again.”
Over the past decade, Ray said one of the biggest trends The Woodlands Chorale has experienced is a shift in the age of choir members.
“One of the most exciting changes we’ve had is that we seem to be attracting a lot of younger folks to our organization, and they’re very talented,” Ray said. “We have members from high school all the way up to octogenarians, so it truly makes us a community chorale that spans a very wide age range.”
While The Woodlands Chorale prepares for its annual winter concert Dec. 15, titled “Christmas Comes to the Movies,” Faber said the organization is already looking ahead to its 10th season in 2019.
“One of the things we’ve never done before is to commission a piece of music,” Faber said. “So one of the pieces we’re going to do next season is a commissioned piece by Till MacIvor Meyn, a composer at Texas Christian University, that he wrote on Scottish folk songs and will involve a chorale and full percussionists. So that will be a lot of fun.”
Faber said as this season comes to a close and a new one begins, he hopes The Woodlands Chorale continues to grow and diversify over the next decade.
“Someone once told me, ‘He who sings gives a gift to himself,’” he said. “I believe that.”
The Woodlands Chorale
P.O. Box 131624, The Woodlands
The Woodlands Chorale performs a “Christmas Comes to the Movies” concert Dec. 15 featuring holiday tunes from classic movies as well as a performance by the Woodlands Boys Choir. 7 pm. $10-$20. The Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church, 4881 W. Panther Creek Drive, The Woodlands.
HOW TO AUDITION
The next audition for The Woodlands Chorale will be Jan. 15 at Trinity Episcopal Church. To schedule an audition time, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Ability to read basic musical notation is required.
-Previous choral experience is preferred but not required.
-Be prepared to sing a Broadway ballad, classical selection or hymn of singer’s choosing.
-Bring own music.
-Accompanist will be provided.
-Be prepared to do a pitch-matching exercise.
Source: The Woodlands Chorale/Community Impact Newspaper