About the Chorale
To engage, nourish, and share the living heritage of choral music
History of the Chorale
The Back Bay Chorale is a one-hundred-twenty-member auditioned chorus led by Music Director Dr. Scott Allen Jarrett, drawing experienced singers from the greater Boston area. From its inception, the Chorale has committed to sharing music in the community with repertoire that ranges from Renaissance to contemporary in an annual concert series. For over forty years, the Chorale has performed major works of the choral repertoire including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Mass in B Minor, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem.
Musician, minister, and social activist Larry Hill founded the Back Bay Chorale in 1973 at Boston’s Church of the Covenant to create a musical ministry that would bring meaning to both singers and their audience. In the years since Hill’s death in 1989, the Chorale has continued to grow in stature and is now regarded as one of Boston’s premier nonprofessional choruses. Under music directors Larry Hill, Beverly Taylor, Julian Wachner, James Olesen, and, since 2004, Dr. Scott Allen Jarrett, the Chorale has presented numerous concerts and has had the privilege to perform with many of Boston’s finest orchestral players and internationally recognized soloists. The Chorale performs regularly at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Emmanuel Church, and Boston University’s Marsh Chapel.
Supporting Emerging Talent
The Back Bay Chorale has supported the growth of emerging singers through its Artist in Residence program and has commissioned and premiered many works, including Marjorie Merryman’sThree Ballads, James Russell Smith’s Canto V: The Second Circle, Robert Kyr’s Unseen Rainand Passion According to Four Evangelists, Stephen Paulus’sVoices, Daniel Thomas Davis’s King David’s Songbook, Julian Wachner’s Symphony No. 1: Incantations and Lamentations and Come My Dark Eyed One, and Mohammed Fairouz’s Anything Can Happen. The Chorale has also brought lesser-known works to Boston audiences, including Gerald Finzi’s Requiem da Camera and Ildebrando Pizzetti’s Requiem.
Community engagement is a vital aspect of the Back Bay Chorale’s mission. In the summer of 2013, the Chorale was featured at the Hatch Shell in the Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s I Have a Dream concert, a musical tribute on the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech; and in 2014 performed Carmina Burana. The Chorale provides concert tickets to students and seniors citizens who otherwise would be unable to attend live performances and has launched an outreach initiative to bring music to residents in local long-term care facilities.
The Back Bay Chorale’s discography includes recordings of Gunther Schuller’s performance of John Knowles Paine’s St. Peter Oratorio; James Yannatos conducting his Trinity Mass with the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra; and Beverly Taylor conducting Robert Kyr’s Unseen Rain and Passion. More recent recordings include Benjamin Britten’s Company of Heaven, conducted by Julian Wachner, and Lukas Foss’s Griffelkin with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project under the baton of Gil Rose.