The Duke University Chorale, the primary choral group of the Department of Music at Duke, is composed of 50 singers. Although the Chorale’s 2020-2021 year will be atypical in some ways, because of health and safety restrictions related to the COVID crisis, the group will nevertheless maintain as much of its usual rehearsal and concert schedule as possible. Rehearsals in the fall will be mostly or entirely online via Zoom, at 7:00-9:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The concert schedule will be somewhat reduced, with both virtual and live components whenever possible.
The Chorale’s repertoire features both sacred and secular music from many cultures and traditions, much of it unaccompanied, ranging from Renaissance motets to contemporary works, and including both simple and complex music. In recent years the Chorale has also performed major works with orchestra, including Rutter’s Requiem, Philip Glass’s Itaipu, Bach's St. John Passion, Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, and Britten's War Requiem.
Because of its strong ties to the university and community, the Chorale sings not only on campus, in formal concerts as well as occasional university events and Duke basketball games, but also in less formal settings like the Durham Rescue Mission and area nursing homes. Their family-style Christmas program fills Duke Chapel every year with audience members of all ages, who bring large amounts of food for area homeless shelters.
Formed in 1970 when the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs were combined into a single choir, the Chorale has a long-standing tradition of touring tours during Duke’s Spring Break. Past international tours, which occur every four years, have taken the group to China, Central America, and many parts of Europe, while their domestic tours alternate between California, the Northeast, and the Southeast. Although the university has cancelled the 2020 spring break, the Chorale hopes to move its planned 2020 tour of Mexico to 2021.
The Chorale has been conducted by Rodney Wynkoop since 1984 and is accompanied by Hye-Bin Song.
The Chorale's 2020-21 calendar
Please be aware that this is a tentative schedule. It will be updated as changes are made during the year.
Monday, July 27 – Friday, Aug. 28 (online) – auditions for new singers
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 4:00 pm (online) – info session
Sunday, Aug. 16, 8:00 pm (online) – ice cream social & information session
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 7:00-8:00 pm (online) – open rehearsal (interested singers welcome)
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 7:00-9:00 pm (online) – first rehearsal of fall semester
**Rehearsals continue every Tu/Th (7:00-9:00 pm) through Nov. 19**
Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 pm concert (online) – Family Weekend Concert, with Duke Symphony Orchestra and Duke Wind Symphony
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7 pm concert (online) – annual Chorale Christmas concert
Thursday, Jan. 7, 7:00-9:00 pm, Bone Hall (or online) – first rehearsal of spring semester
**Rehearsals continue every Tu/Th (7:00-9:00 pm) through Apr. 15**
Friday, Mar. 26, 7:30 pm concert, online at https://sites.duke.edu/bestofbiddle/ – spring concert
Saturday, Apr. 24, 7:30 pm concert, online at https://youtu.be/5XhwgEHLbvU – Celebration concert. View the complete program, including texts and translations, at https://music.duke.edu/sites/music.duke.edu/files/Celebration_Concert_2021_program.pdf.
Sunday, May 2, 4 pm concert (online) – virtual Spring Concert with the Choral Society of Durham