BWW Interview: California Desert Chorale's Tim Bruneau Talks About Upcoming AMERICAN SONGFEST And More

BWW Interview: California Desert Chorale's Tim Bruneau Talks About Upcoming AMERICAN SONGFEST And More

The California Desert Chorale presents AN AMERICAN SONGFEST March 18 and 25, an eclectic offering including music form the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton". I caught up with Artistic Director Tim Bruneau as he was prepearing for this very special concert to talk all things Chorale and more. Her are a few excerpts from that conversation:

DG: How long have you been at the helm of The California Desert Chorale?

TB:I am currently completing my 11th season as the Artistic Director of the California Desert Chorale.

DG: What was your background prior to joining the Chorale?

TB: I hold a Bachelor's Degree in choral conducting from Lawrence University and a Master's Degree in Voice from California State University-Los Angeles. I began my career as a music educator and professional singer and pianist in Illinois, where I sang with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. After six years, I relocated to Los Angeles, California, where I continued to perform in opera and musical theater. While in Los Angeles, I also taught voice privately and sang with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. I also worked as a pianist/musical director for such artists as: Maureen McGovern, Barbara Cook, Carol Burnett and Joanna Gleason.

DG: Give me a thumbnail sketch of the history of the Chorale?

TB: California Desert Chorale was established in 1994 by Nancy Williams and Jackie Doyle. For 25 years, the organization has continued its mission to bring quality choral concerts and vocal recitals to the people of the Coachella Valley.

DG: How many singers and how are they selected?

TB: The group currently has 68 full-time members and four seasonal "snowbird" members. The members range in age from 18-92.

DG: How do you determine your concert programming each season?

TB: First and foremost, in an effort to please our audiences, I consider the simple concept of variety. While the Chorale is definitively a classical ensemble, we perform musical from the jazz, musical theater and pop arenas, as well. Secondly, I choose music that will foster technical and interpretive growth in the singers of the ensemble. Thirdly, I choose music that interests me personally, so that I'm inclined to dedicate my best musicianship and artistry to its realization.

DG: What made you choose to include HAMILTON in your concert programming for "An American Songfest"?

TB: The current political climate in our country makes the seminal messages of the Hamilton songs ring true. The Hamilton score addresses how a nation evolves and how important changes in political culture happen. Though written as a depiction of the founding fathers of our country, the words used and concepts explored are absolutely relevant today. In addition to that, the music is fun and exciting.

DG: Give me some highlights or favorite moments from past CDC performances?

TB: Personal highlights include the performance of great works by Mozart, Puccini and Bernstein along with fantastic arrangements of songs by Lennon & McCartney, Michael Jackson and Cole Porter.

DG: What is the vision and future goals of the CDC?

California Desert Chorale hopes to continue its mission of providing fine choral concerts and vocal recitals. Beyond that, we hope to continue to diversify both our membership and our audience in regard to race, age, gender and sexual orientation. As with any arts organization, our hope is to build a larger and lasting audience base to ensure that the Chorale stays around for another 25 years and beyond.

The California Desert Chorale presents AN AMERICAN SONGFEST March 18 and 25. For tickets or more information visit

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From This Author David Green

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