Most community-based choruses begin with a group of people who want to sing… and someone with the vision and ability to lead them. This organization is no exception.
1980: Victor Recondo, a distinguished pianist and educator who taught choral music at Frank Porter Graham Elementary and Phillips Junior High, invited faculty members to join with students and parents in a Christmas concert. The event featured 90 adult singers, Phillips’ student chorus and 80 elementary school children. The music ran the gamut from George Frideric Handel's Hallelujah Chorus to a medley from Showboat. Former president and now chorus historian, Pat Brooks, sang in this first concert. The group’s name was the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community Chorus and was later renamed Chapel Hill Community Chorus. Early leadership came from Betsy Underwood, who served as president of the fledgling nonprofit organization. The Jaycees and Jaycettes provided financial support, along with the Grassroots Arts Program of the State Arts Council. Becoming part of the Community Schools Program, the chorus evolved into an adult, non-auditioned ensemble. The music grew more challenging and more classical, with the group performing twice a year at various locations in Chapel Hill.
1981: Don Clifford and Gene Bozymski joined the chorus and have participated in every year since joining.
1982: By Christmas, the group performed Charles Gounod's Messe Solennelle.
1985: By spring, the chorus presented the Johannes Brahms' Requiem.
1988-1992: Jeffrey Johnson served as the conductor.
1989: Marianne Kremer first served as the accompanist.
1992-2000: Carl Stam served as the conductor.
2000-Present: Dr. Sue T. Klausmeyer took over as the conductor debuting with “The Joy of Christmas: Festival Music for Chorus, Brass and Harp.”
2001: The chorus participated in the 2001 Duke Chapel presentation of W.A. Mozart's Requiem– a musical collaboration by four area choruses, organized by Sue Klausmeyer, in response to the September 11th tragedy-and in the first-year 9/11 anniversary “Rolling Requiem” at Raleigh’s Meymandi Hall.
2005: In October, the chorus provided a 30-voice chamber choir to join with all the Universty of North Carolina (UNC) choirs and orchestra in a performance of L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in Memorial Hall.
Also in the fall of 2005, the chorus celebrated its 25th Anniversary at a special concert with a new choral work commissioned by American composer Gwyneth Walker. Dr. Walker’s 3-part composition for brass, percussion, piano, and chorus, Together In Song, captured the spirit of community choruses across the nation. Published by ECS Publishing, and dedicated to the Chapel Hill Community Chorus, Together in Song has been performed by choruses far and wide, thus sending ripples of pride in amateur singing out into the world.
2006: Cantari, the chorus’ select vocal ensemble, made its choral debut in the 2006-07 season singing mostly a cappella music.
2008 (and again in 2010): The chorus extended its influence across the Atlantic with summer trips to Europe. As the Carolina International Chorale, members of the chorus and friends toured Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary.
2010: The chorus celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary with “A Season of Roses.” The chorus presented two holiday performances entitled, “There Is No Rose of Such Virtue,” featuring works by John Rutter, William Mathias, John Joubert, and Stephen Chatman. The ever-popular Carolina Brass and renown organist Dr. Susan Moeser joined the choir is these concerts. Cantari, the chorus’ select ensemble, performed “A Christmas Rose” featuring a cappella repertoire from the 15th to the 21st centuries including composers Gabrieli, Michael Praetorius, Richard Rodney Bennett, Hugo Distler, and Stephen Chatman. In May, the chorus welcomed Swedish composer Steve Dobrogosz for the US premier of his new composition, My Rose: A Shakespeare Oratorio for which he also performed as the jazz pianist in the orchestra. Cantari’s spring performance “I Am the Rose of Sharon” featured selections by William Billings, Stephen Foster, and Stephen Paulus, to name just a few.
2011: The Chapel Hill Community Chorus changed its name to Voices, symbolizing how far the chorus has come from its early days and better reflecting the high standard of excellence that has become the chorus’ hallmark.
2012: Voices is currently breaking attendance records at performances.