Choir | St. Louis Public Radio


Black Tulip Chorale conductor Robert Strumpf leads a rehearsal. The choir welcomes participants of any gender expression. [10/31/19]
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

Black Tulip Chorale distinguishes itself from other choirs by actively welcoming members who present any gender expression. This is in contrast to ensembles that bill themselves as men’s or women’s choirs. It’s also unusual for an artform that tends to hold fast to established gender roles.

Members of IN UNISON Chorus rehearse for a recent concert. Charter member Gwendolyn Wesley is seen, bottom center.  2/28/19
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Symphony formed IN UNISON Chorus for a 1994 concert meant to help bridge the black church and the overwhelmingly white world of classical music. Twenty-five years later, the chorus is still singing. Each season it plays two concerts at Powell Hall with the orchestra, plus one a cappella performance and occasional guest appearances, like at the annual season-opening concert at Forest Park.

The chorus specializes in music by African-Americans, from 19th-century spirituals arranged for 120-voice chorus to contemporary gospel and pieces by black composers. The melding of black-American and European classical styles is heard vividly in the finale of the chorus’s February concert, the pathbreaking “Gospel Mass” by IN UNISON’s founding director, Robert Ray.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 23, 2009 - Singing in church is a calling, several area choir leaders said, but it is not limited to those with extraordinary vocal chords or supporting musculature.

"The wider culture seems to put out the idea that you have to be special to sing," said John Cargile, director of Manchester United Methodist Church's 90-member Cantate Choir composed of 6th-12th graders. About 180 children and youth sing in four choirs at the 3,800-member church at 129 Woods Mill Rd. at Manchester Road.

Sing choirs of children, sing in exultation

Dec 21, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2009 - It happens every Christmas the world over. Grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, who rarely lift their voices in song, confidently belt out carols. These Christmas singers may surprise even themselves as they sing third and fourth verses of hymns learned as children.

Often, grandchildren are astounded.