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OUR Story

The mission of the North Carolina Master Chorale is to enrich the cultural lives of our communities through exceptional choral music.

The vision of the North Carolina Master Chorale is to be the region’s premier organization for the advancement of the choral art.

Founded in 1942 as the Raleigh Oratorio Society, the North Carolina Master Chorale is committed to bringing the very finest in choral music performance to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill audiences. Under the direction of Dr. Alfred E. Sturgis since 1993, the Chorale boasts a 170-voice Symphonic Chorus and a smaller, professional Chamber Choir whose size varies by project.

Hailed by critics as Raleigh’s premier choral ensemble, the Chorale primarily performs choral masterworks with orchestra. The North Carolina Master Chorlae Chamber Choir had its debut during the 1996-97 season and performs works ranging in style from the Renaissance to contemporary. Singers in both ensembles, many of whom are professional singers, conductors and music educators, are selected by audition from across Wake and neighboring counties.

In recent seasons, the Chorale has performed masterworks such as Ray's Gospel Mass, Rachmaninoff's Vespers, Haydn’s The Creation, and Berlioz' Requiem. In addition to these works, the Symphonic Choir has performed works such as Britten’s War Requiem, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the North Carolina Symphony and Orff’s Carmina Burana and Handel's Messiah with the Carolina Ballet.

Members of the Chamber Choir along with Music Director Sturgis present the educational program Choral Music Through the Ages in public schools each year. Each season, the Master Chorale presents an annual holiday show, Joy of the Season, in Meymandi Concert Hall, and a Valentine's Day concert Romance in the Air.

In December 2006, the Master Chorale’s Joy of the Season was filmed for broadcast on UNC-TV. Airings of the concert on the network reached approximately 1.5 million people across North Carolina. Ten years later, thanks to a generous gift from one of our donors, the Chorale again recorded their holiday concert, which still airs each December on UNC-TV.

The organization was awarded the 1991 Raleigh Medal of Arts in recognition of its rich heritage and numerous artistic contributions to the community.

In 2021, the North Carolina Master Chorale Youth Choir had its debut season. Targeted for high school students, the Youth Choir provides a professionally directed environment to learn and grow in the choral arts.

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