Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Phoenix Chorale Performs MID-CENTURY MODERN, Today


For centuries, choral music has incorporated the ideas, sounds, and texts of our modern lives. On October 26-28 the Phoenix Chorale offers a creative twist on the concept of Mid-Century Modern with music from the middle 20th and 19th centuries, led by Artistic Director finalist James K. Bass.

Designed to highlight the height of the mid-century modern era when the Phoenix Chorale was founded in 1958 as the Bach and Madrigal Society, the October concerts include works of the mid-19th century and songs written by composers born in the mid-20th century. The beauty of O schöne Nacht! (O lovely night!) came from the pen of Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn described his hymn Mitten wir im Leben sind (Even in the midst of life) -- a setting of text by Martin Luther -- as "one of the best church pieces that I have written."

The Chorale shifts into the 20th century with Dan Locklair's Suite from changing perceptions -- with poetry by Arizonan Carol Adler -- plus James Syler's poignant Dear Sarah, Paul Crabtree's unexpected and quirky Five Romantic Miniatures (from The Simpsons) and more.

Artistic Director finalist James K. Bass, who conducts the Chorale for its Mid-Century Modern performances, is Professor and Director of Choral Studies at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. A three-time GRAMMY®-nominated singer and conductor, Bass also serves as Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the ensemble Seraphic Fire and Artistic Director of the Long Beach Camerata Singers. As an active soloist Bass sang with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra as well as with the New World Symphony and Michael Tilson-Thomas, Craig Hella-Johnson and Conspirare, Vox Humanae, and other ensembles. He has conducted The Florida Orchestra and served as artistic director for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay through five recordings and multiple world premieres, co-founding the Professional Choral Institute. Bass graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami.

Join Phoenix Chorale for a free lecture on October 16 at 6 pm at First United Methodist Church for a glimpse of local life during the Phoenix Chorale's pivotal birth year of 1958. Phoenix's "Hip Historian" Marshall Shore employs storytelling magic, sound recordings and artifacts to musically, historically and culturally explore Phoenix in the Mid-Century.



OCTOBER 26-28, 2018


Friday, October 26, 2018 at 7:30 PM

American Lutheran Church

17200 Del Webb Blvd., Sun City


Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 7:30 PM

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

100 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix


Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Camelback Bible Church

3900 E. Stanford Dr., Paradise Valley


Tickets start at $35 for adults, $30 for seniors & military, $15 for students. or 602-253-2224



"Phoenix in the Mid-Century"

October 16, 2018

Doors open at 6:00 pm

First United Methodist Church

5510 N. Central Ave, Phoenix

Lecturer: Marshall Shore



Mendelssohn: Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt

Brahms: O schöne Nacht, Op. 92, No. 1

Brahms: Warum?, Op. 92, No. 4

Brahms: Sehnsucht, Op. 112, No. 1

Stanford: Blue Bird

Mendelssohn: Mitten wir im Leben Sind

Buchenburg: Ich bin das Brot des Lebens

Syler: Dear Sara

Arnesen: Even when He is silent

Crabtree: Five Romantic Miniatures (from The Simpsons)

Abe (You remind me of a poem)

Homer (Marge, you make the best pork


Homer (Marge, I need you)

Locklair: Suite from Changing Perceptions

What Do We Know About Life

Grief Poem




The 60th Anniversary Season includes Desert and Rivers, (Sept. 28-30, 2018); Mid-Century Modern (Oct. 26-28, 2018); A Chorale Christmas (Dec. 14-18, 2018); Pathways of Devotion (Feb. 22-24, 2019) and concludes in April with Reflections (Apr. 5-7, 2019).

Season subscriptions for the 2018/19 season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 602-253-2224. Season subscriptions of 3, 4, and 5 concerts start at $115; single tickets start at $35, with discounts available for students, seniors and military.


The Artistic Director Search process began in the summer of 2017, and by November fifty qualified individuals from across the United States and abroad had applied for the position. The Search Team reviewed the first round of materials -- cover letters, resumes, and both audio and video files -- and narrowed the field to 11 semifinalists. The semifinalists submitted a second round of materials including additional video and audio files, and each semifinalist was tasked with designing a concert program for the Chorale; interviews were held and references were checked. At the end of that round, four finalists were identified and invited to continue in the search process. Each finalist will come to Phoenix, lead the Chorale in rehearsals and concerts, and meet with the board, staff, singers, and community over the course of their concert series. The final selection for the Artistic Director position is expected in late spring of 2019, with the new Artistic Director taking the helm in the 2019/20 season.


The Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale is regarded as one of the finest choral ensembles in North America. The 28-voice chorus has developed its reputation through live performances across Arizona, the US and Canada, along with a series of recordings treasured by music lovers and played by radio stations around the world. The Phoenix Chorale began in 1958 as a small study group of singers performing music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras and quickly evolved into a performing ensemble. In 1992 the ensemble transitioned into a professional choir, and to this day the ensemble's roster is made up of Arizona residents -- highly educated and trained singers with a variety of careers, including teaching music. In 2004 the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the UK's Chandos Records, and since then the Chorale's recordings have earned a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins. In its 60-year history, conductors of the Chorale have included Millicent Wesley, Wallace Hornibrook, Dan Durand, Vance George, Anders Öhrwall, Jon Washburn and Charles Bruffy. The Phoenix Chorale's vision is to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining standards of excellence, and its mission is to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry.

The Phoenix Chorale, ensemble-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix, is sponsored in part through grants, funding, and support from the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Arizona Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

Related Articles View More Phoenix Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You