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Tyler Civic Chorale: 50 Years of Music

by Weston Jennings
Director of Music & Organist

On Saturday, May 19th, the Tyler Civic Chorale celebrated 50 years of choral singing in East Texas, and the concert and gala marking the celebration made it an evening to remember! It is a joy when, on anniversaries such as this, a group can welcome back a director or two from years past, but with all past artistic directors present - many of whom having also been music directors at First Presbyterian Church - it was an even rarer treat.

In February of 1968, a choir was formed to sing Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the East Texas Symphony. The desire for a community choral group in Tyler was sparked and these singers continued to rehearse under the direction of Dr. David McCormick throughout that season. The first performance of the Tyler Civic Chorale was later that spring in Wise Auditorium and, as they say, the rest is history!

In its five decades, the Chorale has brought a number of musical works to the region, often for the first time, including Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, G. F. Handel’s Messiah (with period instruments), and Arthur Honneger’s King David. The gala served as a way to honor the rich history of this group, re-kindle musical and personal memories of years past, and to thank the directors and longtime members for their dedication and vision.

As current artistic director, I believe that this occasion also demonstrated renewed enthusiasm for this choir and their mission to bring high quality choral music to our community, even after all these years. I am grateful for all those who made this event what it was and am enthusiastic for what the future has in store for the Tyler Civic Chorale.

   In celebration of five decades of music-making by the Tyler Civic Chorale, four past conductors and current artistic director, Weston Jennings, shared the podium for an exciting concert. The sold-out event was capped off by dinner with musical entertainment and displays of Chorale memorabilia.      “What a splendid evening filled with beautiful music, memories, and delightful fun and food, with the amazing 50 years of conductors of the Tyler Civic Chorale at First Presbyterian Church in Tyler,” said FPC member Sally Garmon Smith.       Featured conductors (pictured above, from left to right) included: Richard Herr, Weston Jennings, David McCormick, Donald Duncan & Frode Gunderson. 

In celebration of five decades of music-making by the Tyler Civic Chorale, four past conductors and current artistic director, Weston Jennings, shared the podium for an exciting concert. The sold-out event was capped off by dinner with musical entertainment and displays of Chorale memorabilia.

“What a splendid evening filled with beautiful music, memories, and delightful fun and food, with the amazing 50 years of conductors of the Tyler Civic Chorale at First Presbyterian Church in Tyler,” said FPC member Sally Garmon Smith. 

Featured conductors (pictured above, from left to right) included: Richard Herr, Weston Jennings, David McCormick, Donald Duncan & Frode Gunderson.