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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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DUBUQUE CHORALE. In 2012 the Dubuque Chorale was a community choral organization composed of singers from Dubuque and outlying communities. Dennis Williams founded the group in 1971. The chorale's initial purpose was to study and perform the great choral masterworks with orchestra; the first season featured Handel's Messiah and Haydn's Creation. Since then the group performed over 60 major choral works, and its mission evolved to include all great choral music. The Chorale's 40 years of performances, reaching well over 40,000 people, attests to the accomplishment of this mission.

In 1986 the Chorale began a collaboration with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra with the performance of that year's Holiday Concerts. The relationship continued with the Chorale typically joining the DSO for Holiday Pops and a featured work in the spring as part of the symphony's subscription series. On its own, the Chorale performed a concert in the fall and in the spring, an outdoor show in the summer, and occasionally participated in other engagements. In 2011 the usual schedule called for four performances.

In 1994 the Dubuque Chorale embarked on its first international tour to England and Wales. Since then members of the organization visited and performed in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Italy (singing for a mass at the Vatican), Switzerland, New Zealand, and Australia (singing with renowned conductor Eric Whitacre at the Sydney Opera House). In June 2011 the Chorale toured and performed in New York City along with community and university singers from the Wisconsin communities of Platteville, Mt. Horeb, and Fond du Lac.

In 2006 Francis Vogt, assistant professor of music at CLARKE COLLEGE took over the direction of the Chorale. In 2009, Dr. Robert Demaree accepted the position of music director and conductor.

During its first 40 years, over 1,100 local residents have sung with the Chorale. Many members were professional musicians, private music teachers, and music teachers in area colleges and public and private, elementary, middle, and high schools. Because of the availability of the Chorale, many other local residents who enjoyed singing classical chorale music continued their passion for chorale singing. In addition, the group invited students participating in music programs in Dubuque-area colleges to join them as they performed such pieces as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Mozart's Requiem, Bach's Magnificat, and other major works with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.

The Dubuque Chorale closed its 40th anniversary season Sunday, April 22, by welcoming back founding director Dennis Williams and past director Fran Vogt. Along with director Bob Demaree, they led the chorale in a retrospective concert at WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, where it first performed.



"2010 Season of the Arts," Julien's Journal, October 2010, p. 52

Dubuque Chorale website