chorus was assembled in 1939 by the Atlanta Music Club. Haskell Boyter
was one of the founders and their leader. One of their earliest performances
was Felix Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul
oratorio, in April 1941.
December 1941, they joined forces with the Chattanooga Civic Chorus for two
performances of Camille Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio and Arthur Goring Thomas’s The Swan and the Skylark. It was an ill-timed concert,
coinciding with Pearl Harbor, and the
chorus had to close its doors until the end of World War II.
re-emerged in 1947, more or less intact, with the co-sponsorship of the
Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Atlanta Music
Club, who officially dubbed them the Choral Guild of Atlanta, and named
Haskell Boyter their permanent director. Their first post-war concert took
place at Glenn
in tandem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and was conducted by Henry Sopkin.
retired in 1962, although he was appointed Director-Emeritus. Associate Director Donald Robinson
took the helm, and he remained their conductor for thirteen years. On 1st April 1963, they
teamed up with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia State Brass
Ensemble for William Walton’s masterpiece, Belshazzar’s Feast.
the American southeast and performed Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony
No. 9” at the Florida International Music Festival in Daytona Beach in 1967
with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Robert Shaw arrived and he saw to it that the Choral Guild of Atlanta play
an important role in the programming of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s
season. When the Atlanta
Symphony Chorus was established, the Choral Guild renewed its independent
assistant conductor Thomas Schwartz took over in 1975, just in time to get
ready for a pair of bicentennial concerts that comprised Charles Knox’s
“Psalm of Praise” and M. Lee Suitor’s “Motet: Psalm 51”. In November 1977, they joined the
Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Community Orchestra for two performances of Carmina Burana by
William Noll became Music Director and he helped them gain exposure on the
airwaves, broadcasting concerts on NPR’s Performance Today, Parkway Productions’ America in Concert, and Atlanta’s own
WPBA-Channel 30/WABE-FM 90.1.
their debut at Carnegie Hall in April 1980 with a concert of Richard Wagner’s
Rienzi, in tandem with the Opera
Orchestra of New York. So
successful was it that the two groups reprised their performance at the Kennedy Center
in Washington, D.C.,
and the Lincoln Center in New
In April 1985,
they made their European debut in Belgium with Orchestre des Juenes de la Communaute Francaise de Belgique in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B minor. They and the Sandy Springs Chamber
Orchestra premiered the expanded and revised version of Curtis Bryant’s
In 1988, they
collaborated with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on a pair of concerts in
Atlanta to New York to commemorate the millennium
of Christianity in The Ukraine.
Other groups with whom they have collaborated include the Lee Harper
Dancers, the Macon Symphony, and the Savannah Symphony.
They gave the
world premiere of The Lessons of Time
by James Oliverio at the christening of Atlanta’s Fernbank Science Center
in October 1992.
1993-1994 season, Dr. Richard Zielinski offered up
an adventurous program that featured Henryk Gorecki’s “Amen, Opus 34”, V.E. Soto’s
Domite mi Nino, and an arrangement of “Siph’ Amandla” by
took the reins in 1994 and on his watch, the Guild performed Johann
Sebastian Bach’s Magnificat, David Fanshawe’s
“African Sanctus”, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony
No. 2” (“Hymn of Praise”), John Rutter’s
and Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem,
with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Tech Chorale.
was James Bohart, who assumed the posts of
conductor and musical director in 1997. During his time with the choir, it commissioned
“The Children’s Song of the Nativity” in honour of Mabel Boyter and in
memoriam, Haskell Boyter.
The Guild went
down under in 2000 for pre-Summer Olympics performances at the Cairns Choral
Hall, and Sydney
Town Hall. They presented H.H.A.
Beach’s Grand Mass in E flat in the Peachtree Road
Church on 12th
of the Guild did a European mini-tour in July 2004, with visits to the Basilika Wilten in Innsbruck, Austria,
the Hallstatt Catholic Church in Salzburg,
Austria, and the Holy Trinity
Church in Bern, Switzerland.
October 2010, the Guild opened their 2010-2011 season with a concert at St.
Luke’s Presbyterian Church with the Chancel Choir. Their holiday concert, Christmas
Around the World, was held at Northside Drive
on 12th December 2010.
which they appear include The Joy of
Christmas, Martha Stewart Living
Music: Classical Favorites for
the Holidays, and The Ultimate
Classical Christmas Album of All Time.
Choral Guild of Atlanta recordings
O Come, All Ye Faithful (Frederick
Oakeley/John Francis Wade)
Arranger – John Rutter
Organist – Anthony Newman
Joy of Christmas)