The Corpus Christi Chorale began at Del Mar College as a young, fledgling choral group in 1945. As the group developed and discovered its sound, it brought to it some incredible, notable Artistic Directors that led it to become the Corpus Christi Chorale we love and know today.
Under the direction and tenure of Dr. Ron Shirey (1961-1972), the Corpus Christi Chorale performed for the first time with the well-established San Antonio Symphony and Corpus Christi Symphony. Dr. Shirey then sought out new heights, taking the chorale to Mexico City for a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, marking a truly transformative moment for the group. In Mexico City, the Corpus Christi Chorale played alongside the Mexico City Symphony in the Palace des Belles Artes for a night of extraordinary music.
Following Dr. Ron Shirey was Dr. C. M. Shearer (1972-1974). Then, came the remarkable run of Dr. Eugene McKinley (1974-2005). During the tenure of Dr. McKinley, the Chorale grew both in numbers and in the depth of its music. The Chorale began performing Handel’s Messiah annually with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, as well as Bach’s Magnificat with the Austin Sinfonietta. During this time, other major performance milestone included: Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor at Lincoln Center (1987), Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia with the Paul Winter Consort (1990), David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus with David Fanshawe (1991), and Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass with the composer conducting (1995).
Shortly after Dr. McKinley’s departure, the Chorale found itself under the artistic direction of Dr. Sam Logsdon (2005-2007). It was then the Chorale moved from its deep-rooted home at Del Mar College to TAMU-CC. In 2006, the Chorale had the honor of presenting Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: Mass for Peace in the new Performing Arts Center and sang Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
As Dr. Logsdon prepared to retire, Ms. Arlene Long gracefully stepped in from 2007-2008 while the university found the Chorale a replacement. Fortunately, the Chorale received Dr. Ross Bernhardt (2008-2015). The Chorale suddenly found itself cementing its identity and performing a flurry of music, including Brahms’ Requiem and a number of compositions by Dr. Bernhardt.
Upon Dr. Bernhardt’s departure as Director, Ms. Arlene Long returned, graciously guiding the Chorale from 2015-2019.
Today, the Chorale finds itself suddenly reinvigorated and buzzing with excitement as Mr. Devin Davis steps into the role of Artistic Director for the Corpus Christi Chorale.
And the rest is, as they say, still unsung…