Welcome to the Platteville Chorale and Platteville Children's Choir website. The chorale and children's choir program provide opportunities for people of all ages to make beautiful music. Drawing from Southwest Wisconsin, the groups include over a hundred members from well over a dozen communities in the area. Rehearsals and performances are mainly during the academic year.
In the fall of 1975, Dr. Gerald Darrow, the Choral Musician in the Music Department at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville at that time and Allen Schaver, a local businessman, planned and organized the Platteville Chorale. They saw the need and the opportunity to begin something great for community.
Approximately 36 singers began rehearsals on October 2, 1975, under the direction of Gerald Darrow and presented a series of four concerts in local churches on November 8, 9 and 16. They joined the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Choir in a presentation of the Messiah on December 9.
Original officers for the new organization included: Allen Schaver, president; Lillian Richert, Treasurer; Jean Burnham and Claudia Campbell, Membership; Grace Jeffery and Paul Ipsen, Finance; Doug Throckmorton and Tom Hickey, Publicity. Gerald Darrow was the director, Becky Schaver was the accompanist. All of the above were on the Board of Directors. Allen Schaver led the organization through the spring of 1982, when he and Becky moved away from Platteville.
In the spring of 1978, the Platteville Chorale Board, planned and organized a Summer Music Festival. This consisted of two concerts on Friday, July 14 and Sunday, July 16. The guest conductor was one of the country's most respected young conductors, William McGlaughlin. He was the conductor of the superb St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the time. Professional soloists were engaged for the event. For the orchestra and chorus, this was a week-long event with rehearsals at the beginning of the week. The event was co-sponsored by the Platteville Arts Council and the UWP Music Department. This program had a 16-year run with William McGlaughlin serving as guest conductor for 10 consecutive years.
Following the departure of Allen Schaver, Thomas Hickey served as president of the Chorale from 1982 till 1994. Lillian Richert served as Treasurer for the Chorale through the fall of 2001 and the Summer Music Festival for its entire existence.
Dr. Darrow retired from the University in 1992 as well as from conducting the Chorale. His tenure as conductor with the Chorale was 22 years. Dr. Robert Demaree, who followed Dr. Darrow in the UWP Music Department, became director in the fall of 1992. The group had some wonderful years, and he helped greatly through some transitions, both with the Chorale and the Children's Choir. He resigned from the Chorale in the spring of 1998. Dr. Jeffery Pappas, choral director at Clarke College in Dubuque, directed the Chorale in the 1998-99 season. Dr. Darrow, came out of retirement and directed the Chorale for two seasons from 1999 to 2001. Gregory Dennis, choral director at the Mt. Horeb High School in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, sang with the Chorale for the 2000-2001 season and became the director in the fall of 2001. He has been the director since that time. Gregory Dennis is the son of Mr. William Dennis, who was "Mr. Music" at UWP for many years from the early 1940s into the 1960s.
The Platteville Children's Choir was established in 1989 by the Platteville Chorale. The Platteville Children's Choir is officially an operation of The Platteville Chorale, Inc., and is governed by the bylaws of that organization.
In 1994, the Platteville Chorale was reorganized and established as an official non-profit corporation in the State of Wisconsin. It has achieved 501c3 status. Its first officers were Dwight Klaassen, President; Arletta Giese, Vice-President; Tom Hickey, Secretary; and Lil Richert, Treasurer. The Platteville Chorale, Inc., is operated by a ten-member Board of Directors, is governed by bylaws, and is responsible for the operation of the Platteville Children's Choir. Terri Ellis is the current President of the Board.
Platteville Children's Choir
The Platteville Children's Choir was established in 1989 to provide the children of southwest Wisconsin with an opportunity to be involved in the excitement of making beautiful music together. It began with the vision of Dr. Gerald Darrow, Choral Director in the Music Department at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the members of the Platteville Chorale which he directed. The first singers were 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students from the community. Currently there are over 115 children singing in three choirs who come from over 18 different communities in the area.
The Platteville Children's Choir rehearses and performs mainly during the academic year. It regularly presents concerts in the fall and spring, and performs at a variety of other events. The fall concert is traditionally held in the wonderful Brodbeck Concert Hall in the Center for the Arts on the UWP campus in conjunction with the Platteville Chorale, its parent organization. The spring concert is a time of celebration as the season is completed.
Other events in which the Platteville Children's Choir performs annually include the December Holiday Gala with the music department of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the annual tree lighting at the Rollo Jamison Museum in Platteville. Each year, in late spring, the choir makes a day-long tour giving a thirty minute concert at either four or five elementary and middle schools in Southwest Wisconsin. This is an especially fun time because the singers often get to perform for their friends at their home school.
In 2005, each of the choirs was privileged to perform outside of our area. The Cantabile Choir took a weekend tour to Minnesota in May where they gave two evening concerts in conjunction with children's choirs in Bloomington and Northfield. They also performed at a school and a church in Northfield. In January, the Choristers did an overnight trip to Appleton, Wisconsin where they sang at the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association's Annual Convention. This was a real honor. The Apprentice Singers participated in the Annual St. Luke's Children's Choir Fest in Dubuque, Iowa, in April.
The Platteville Children's Choir exists to provide the children of Southwest Wisconsin with an opportunity to participate in a high-quality choral music program which includes education and performance. The Platteville Children's Choir is not intended to replace a child's participation in his or her school music program, rather it should enhance and add to his or her enjoyment of music. All singers in the Platteville Children's Choir are encouraged to join their school's choir.
The Platteville Children's Choir is officially an operation of The Platteville Chorale, Inc., and is governed by the bylaws of that organization.