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The History of the Virginia Beach Chorale

The Virginia Beach Chorale

In 1958, a group of about 50 performers led by Mr. & Mrs. Frank Ferrigno gathered and decided that the city of Virginia Beach was large enough to support a civic chorus of its own. Looking regretfully at the prohibitively large budgets necessary to put on Broadway shows, the group settled on light music and carols to launch its debut. Their first performance took place in May of 1959 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center ("The Dome") under the direction of Charles Daws and accompanied by Mrs. Ferrigno.

The Virginia Beach Civic Chorus continued to perform at the Dome over the next few years, and in 1962 they presented "An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan," complete with a staged production of Trial by Jury. That performance was directed by Charles Oliver and was accompanied by a full orchestra. Mr. Oliver took over the directorship in 1963 and the performances of the Chorus, along with its budget, continued to grow and expand. They performed in different venues as well, including local churches and high schools, presenting such ambitious works as The Merry Widow, Carousel, Showboat, and various sacred works, such as Vivaldi's "Gloria" and Brahms' "Requiem." Some highlights of the 1966 season were a four-night run of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore and Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.

"You are a fantastic and dedicated group of singers who helped make this concert an overwhelming success and a musically gratifying experience."
—Lorelei A. Conrad, LCDR U.S. Navy, Atlantic Fleet Bandmaster

1968 began a new chapter for the Chorus, as Walter Noona took the reins of the directorship. Mr. Noona is well known, both locally and nationally, as the former conductor of the Virginia Symphony Pops Orchestra, among many other musical endeavors. During his tenure, the Chorus made the decision to take a name that reflected its growing vision, and the Virginia Beach Chorale emerged in 1979. Mr. Noona took his final bow as the director of the Chorale at their performance in the spring of 1980.

It was the good fortune of the Chorale to have Lou Sawyer assume leadership for the 1980 Christmas concert. He brought with him many years of skilled professional experience. Joining him was Jeanette Winsor, an extraordinarily gifted musician, and the Chorale could not have wished for a more accomplished and dedicated team. The Chorale performed under Lou's baton until his death in 2008.

The search for a new director began, and in the spring of 2009, we were fortunate to have Dr. Don Krudop step onto the podium. Don is the Director of Choral Music Education at the Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School in Virginia Beach, VA. Under such gifted leadership and with Jeanette's mastery at the piano, the Chorale is looking forward to a rewarding and entertaining future.

Past Performance Highlights

The Virginia Beach Chorale