ChoralArt (formerly The Choral Art Society) was born in 1972 when a group of singers asked Dr. Harold Brown, newly appointed Professor of Music at the University of Southern Maine, to conduct. ChoralArt Singers, the original ensemble was formed. Singers were chosen through audition, and all shared a dedication to choral excellence. Following Dr. Brown’s retirement in 1979 Dr. Robert Russell was named ChoralArt Music Director. A large number of singers auditioned in 1979 and the ensemble grew from 36 to 50 singers. ChoralArt Masterworks made its debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in 1983, singing Orff’s Carmina Burana. In the mid-1990s ChoralArt embraced the idea of a chamber ensemble, and 1996 marked the debut of ChoralArt Camerata, dedicated to a cappella performance.
ChoralArt maintains three ensembles: The 100-voice ChoralArt Masterworks sings symphonic choral literature annually with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and occasionally performs other concerts. The 50-voice ChoralArt Singers performs as the core of the Masterworks, sings an annual Christmas at the Cathedral series of concerts, and will often perform a third concert each year. The ChoralArt Camerata of 16 voices sings an annual Epiphany Celebration and a spring concert. All ensembles are available for out-of-town performances.
Recent performances include the New England premiere of Robert Cohen’s Alzheimer’s Stories, Bernstein’s Kaddish, Symphony No. 3 and Haydn’s The Creation with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light soundtrack to the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, choral offerings in the Centennial Celebration of the Kotzschmar Organ concert, and Portland Ballet Company collaborations of Mozart’s Requiem and Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man; A Mass for Peace.