Now in its seventeenth season, the Virginia Chorale continues to be the Commonwealth's only fully professional choral ensemble, singular in its commitment to the the highest artistic standards in the performance of choral music. Founded as an early music ensemble in 1984, the Chorale has expanded its repertoire to include music from all periods of history, and is particularly well know for performance of a cappella repertoire, which is a feature on all concert programs. Vince Brown of Port Folio Weekly has cited the Chorale's "sublime choral music" and "poignant introspection" and observed "achieving the Chorale's signature vocal blend with so many potent individual voices is a testament to the group's dedication and professionalism." The Chorale has undergone a number of name changes to reflect its growth over the years, from Norfolk Pro Musica to Virginia Pro Musica in 1989, to the McCullough Chorale honoring its founder, Donald J. McCullough, and to its present name in 1996. As the Chorale has grown in activity and diversity of repertoire, it has likewise grown in artstic excellence and stature. It was featured in the premiere season of Chorus America's nationally syndicated radio program The First Aid, performing Adolphus Hailstork's Seven Songs of the Rubaiyat. Later that year, NPR's Performance Today feature the Chorale with encore performances of Hailstork's compositions. In response to subsequent audience requests, Adolphus Hailstork - Choral Works was released on the Albany Records/Troy 156 label in 1995. The Chorale was again featured on Performance Today in 1997 as part of its July 4th Program, with excerpts of a concert conducted by the renowned Dale Warland. The Chorale has performed outside the Hampton Roads region presenting performances in 1990 in Norwich, England as part of a sister city exchange program, and in 1995 at the National Convention of the Association of Anglican Musicians. The Chorale also performed at the southeastern conference of the American Choral Directors Association in 1996, and appears annually as part of the Virginia Waterfront International Arts Festival, which attracts audiences from all over the nation. Last season marked a new chapter in the history of the Virginia Chorale as it launched two exciting new educational outreach programs for the youth of the region. Master Classes, which were offered in seventeen area classrooms last year, feature our Music Director and four Chorale singers who sing for, instruct, and interact with choruses in their high school classrooms. The Young Singers Project is a chamber ensemble of select high school students from the region who are chosen by audition. The ensemble rehearses for several weeks in January and February with mentorship by Chorale singers and presents a public performance. The effort to reach the youth of our communities is an important one, as the Chorale works to become an ever more valuable resource to the people of Hampton Roads. Also in 1999, the Chorale recorded its second compact disc, Heavenly Light, which was immediately and overwhelmingly celebrated by patrons and critics from around the region. Cited for its "memorable performances", "impressive stylistic variety" and "dynamic nuance", the disk is the ensemble's first recording with Music Director Robert Shoup.

 
The Mission of the Virginia Chorale, the Commonwealth of Virginia's only Professional choral ensemble, is to foster enjoyment of and education about the choral art in Hampton Roads and beyond, through the performance of a broad repertoire of choral music by the highest caliber of professional singers.