The Valparaiso University Chorale continues to earn acclaim as one of the top Lutheran collegiate choirs in the United States, upholding the highest standard of choral art through performance of the greatest choral literature of all eras and preserving the University’s rich choral tradition, which dates back to the early 20th century. The 48-mixed voice ensemble performs an eclectic repertoire that spans from traditional to significant contemporary works, all in their original languages, and to selections that express multicultural perspectives. Under the direction of Dr. Christopher M. Cock, who has sustained the University’s choral tradition for over two decades, the ensemble maintains an active annual schedule of touring, performing and recording, including appearances at the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Conference in 2005, 2008 and 2015.
By invitation from the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the Chorale was the only international ensemble invited to perform at the celebrations of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017. They were also invited by Thomaskantor Gottold Schwarz to join the Thomanerchor, the famous boy’s choir once led by Johann Sebastian Bach, in performance during the Reformation Day services at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany.
The Chorale has served six residencies at the St. Thomas Church – the only collegiate American choir to enjoy such a strong relationship with the church of J.S. Bach. In June 2012, the Chorale was invited by the Bach Archive in Leipzig to perform at the Bach Festival that celebrated the 800th anniversary of the St. Thomas Church and the Thomanerchor.
In addition to the national and international appearances by Chorale, the ensemble boasts in their repertoire a number of recordings which include: Traditions: Hymns, Motets, and Folk Songs (1998); The Lutheran Chorale with Paul Manz (2000); Christ Child: Songs of the Nativity (2001); In Paradisum (2003); As it is in Heaven (2006); amazing day (2008); O My Soul (2010); and Star Still Guiding (2011).
The Valparaiso University Chorale has received significant critical acclaim. The Thuringer Allegemine reviewed the Chorale’s concert in 2007: “a first class ensemble…such a high degree of tonal unity, such sure intonation in the most complex and dissonant groups of chords, and such a precise feeling of dynamic shading…” In 2010, the Schwarzwalder Bote exclaimed, “Their heavenly and virtuosic performance enthused the audience,” and the Schwabischs Tagblatt hailed their performance as “masterful.” In 2017, the Reutlinger General-Anzeiger praised the Chorale as “masters of exact intonation and an extremely fine nuanced dynamic.”
The Valparaiso University Bach Choir
The Valparaiso University Bach Choir is an auditioned ensemble serving the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. The choir includes Valpo students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the wider Chicagoland community.
The Bach Choir made its debut in the 2001 performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and participated in the inauguration of the Bach Institute in January 2004, performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor, both under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling.
In July 2006, the Bach Choir performed at the opening worship of the American Guild of Organists’ national convention, for which they performed motets by J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and two world premieres. In March of 2012, the Bach Choir performed Bach’s Cantata 106 for the American Choral Directors Association Central Division’s convention in Fort Wayne, Ind.