Schuylkill Choral Society
Schuylkill Choral Society      Schoral Society with Orchestra     Schuylkill Choral Society Director Dr. Mark P. Thomas
History . . .
The Schuylkill Choral Society was formed in 1973 by its founder and first conductor James F. Rickley with the help of the group's first accompanist Miriam Small. The original group consisted of thirty members mostly from local church choirs and students of Mr. Rickley. The rehearsals were held at the Catholic War Vets in Pottsville with the group's first public performance being held for the residents of Rest Haven in Schuylkill Haven in 1974. Francis Portland assumed the conductor's stand during the late 1970s and introduced the chorus to its first major work, Handel's Messiah. Catherine Zimmerman followed as conductor during the early 1980s. Under her leadership, the group continued to expand its repertoire, including a performance of the Brahms Requiem. Peggy Aston took over the director's position from Mrs. Zimmerman for the 1985-86 season and was joined by assistant director Mark P. Thomas who assumed the position of head conductor and music director the following year. He continues in that roll today.

In the late 1980s, the choir expanded its concert season and continued to expand its repertoire in both classical and contemporary music. The chorus organized its own orchestra to accompany the choir for its classical performances. During this time the chorus also began to travel throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania. In 1991 the chorus embarked on its first European tour and received high praise in both the German and Austrian press. The chorus made two tours of Canada during 1995 and 1998. The 1990s brought much attention to the chorus as it was featured on many television shows as well as frequent broadcasts on the radio. During the 1994 1995 season, The Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative World War II Concert brought national attention. The chorus was recognized by then President Bill Clinton for its "recognition of veterans and its contributions to its community". Parts of this program were also used in Washington D.C. to celebrate the official National 50th anniversary of the end of WW II.

The new millennium saw the chorus release two commercial CD's, and combine its efforts with other local organizations including performances with the Schuylkill Symphony Orchestra. In 2002 the chorus embarked on its second overseas tour to the British Isles and in 2004 toured in the United States. In 2005 the choir performed with the New York Pops at the Lakeside Ballroom commemorating Jimmy Dorsey's 100th birthday. In 2006 the choir again traveled to Europe to take part in the "Footsteps of Mozart Tour". The choir represented the United States and performed Mozart's Mass in C Major "Coronation" in Prague, the Czech Republic; and St. Stephen's Cathedral - Stephansdom in Vienna Austria. The choir has also been featured performing the National Anthem for the Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers.

The chorus in recent years has continued its outreach to the Schuylkill County community and beyond with innovative programming featuring varying styles of music for all ages. The chorus continues to work with local organizations to produce high quality performances and continues to tour both at home and overseas to high praise. Today the Schuylkill Choral Society, previously known as the Schuylkill County Community Chorus, is a 100 voice auditioned volunteer choir that has become one of the most recognizable chorus's in Pennsylvania while holding true to its original credo of promoting cultural growth for its community.
Season 2018-19
  December 1 - 2
  March 10
  May 19

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