Master Chorale “Returns” to Washington

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The National Master Chorale, a semiprofessional chorus in Washington, D.C., is changing the name of the group to Washington Master Chorale to better reflect the area where it is located. The Washington Master Chorale seeks to advance American choral excellence by combining professional artistry with the beauty of architecture and the written word, and to contribute new American works to the choral canon by facilitating the creation of new high-caliber choral works.

One of the newest choral organizations in the Washington, DC area, the National Master Chorale, is marking a return to Washington, by changing its name to “Washington Master Chorale.”

“As we are nearing completion of our first full year of performances, the Board of Directors has been making assessments of where we began as a group, where we are now, and where we want to go in the future,” said Board President Diane Kresh. “Among the topics discussed was our name.”

“In the review, we decided we needed to modify our name slightly to more accurately reflect where we are located; ‘National’ seemed a bit ambiguous,” she continued.

“We are proud to be identified as a Washington, DC-based chorale. We are in fact, Washington’s Master Chorale.”

According to Artistic Director Thomas Colohan, “In our concerts this season, we have been exploring our choral ancestry—the rich choral traditions of the German Romantic period and the English Choral Revival of the late 19th century, both of which played strong roles in shaping the consciousness of American choral art. We decided to do that same exploration of the Chorale’s roots as an organization.”

“The current Master Chorale was formed by alumni of the now-defunct Master Chorale of Washington (MCW). By keeping the Master Chorale tag, and again referencing the District, we are returning to our roots. Even deeper, by maintaining the ‘Chorale’ nomenclature, we also honor the foundation of both our group and the Master Chorale of Washington’s musical and organizational heritage, the Paul Hill Chorale,” Colohan said.

“In forming the Paul Hill Chorale, Paul Hill established a legacy of musical excellence,” Colohan continued. "With the MCW, Donald McCullough greatly added to that legacy. We proudly embrace the opportunity to honor their work, and the work of all the Chorale alumni over the years by renaming our group to more accurately reflect who we are, and where we come from.”

The Washington Master Chorale’s season concludes with a Sunday, March 20, 2011, concert titled, “British Masterpieces: Jewels from the English Choral Revival” to be held at 4 p.m. at the National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave NW in Washington, DC.

Additional information on tickets and on the Washington Master Chorale is available through the Chorale’s website: http://www.washingtonmasterchorale.org.

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Joseph Gradisher