Prescott Chorale brings together a diverse group of singers to share their love of music and performance
Article & Photos by Heather DeSousa
Founded in 2016, the Prescott Chorale comprises 50 members ranging in age from 30 to 85. Conductor Dennis Houser leads the group, which performs sings classical music, often with an orchestra and soloists, for around 1,500 folks each year.
The Prescott Chorale started as a group of 10 singers including Dennis and his wife, Kay. Searching for a space with good acoustics and more flexibility for their performances, they left the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center and formed their own group. Their relationship with the St. Luke’s community, where Dennis and his wife are the music staff, allowed them to secure a stage for their performances.
The Chorale’s season typically includes three main performances: one each in October, December and April. In addition to these shows, they offer a few community performances throughout the year, such as those at the senior center and the Festival of Trees, a staple in the Prescott community.
The Chorale’s upcoming April concert, The Messa di Gloria, will feature a work by Puccini, an Italian opera composer who lived at the end of the 19th century. The performance will take place at St. Luke’s, the group’s home stage.
The peace-themed October performance, of Chester Psalms, is tentatively planned to take place at the Ruth Street Theater. The Chorale hosts many soloists, and 16 players make up the orchestra. The group is also working with local composer Henry Flurry, the organizer of the Arizona Philharmonic.
The December performance is an annual tradition featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Christmas cookies, a children’s choir and carols at St. Luke’s.
The Chorale’s age range and diverse community make it a unique and welcoming group. They hold auditions every July for their upcoming season with rehearsals starting in August. The group is also planning to expand and perform at the Ruth Street Theater to host a larger audience of 670, as compared to their current space at St. Luke’s, which can hold 250 people.
In May a few members of the Chorale will be going on their fifth concert tour; this year to Italy. They will be singing Mozart’s Requiem.
This September, Dennis will celebrate his 60th year conducting chorus groups. He has lived in Prescott since 2010, moving from California and prior to that, Indiana.
The Prescott Chorale is a beautiful blend of music and community, bringing together individuals of all ages and backgrounds to share their love of classical music and performance.