The Skagit Valley Chorale was founded in 1984 by Joan Penney with the support of the Skagit Valley College Foundation and has grown from its original 30 members to over 120 men and women dedicated to performing quality choral music.
Two annual concerts are performed in Mount Vernon at McIntyre Hall, which is considered one of the premier performing arts venues in the state of Washington. The "Heralding Christmas" concert is presented shortly after Thanksgiving and features classical and contemporary choral works along with a variety of seasonal favorites. The "Celebrating in Song" concert, presented in the spring, features classical choral works as well as a variety of choral music by contemporary composers representing the diversity of world traditions and cultures.
Membership in the Chorale is open on a non-audition basis to anyone wishing to express their singing talent and challenge their vocal skills. Placement within the Chorale is determined by a voice range evaluation. Current membership includes singers from Skagit, Whatcom, Island and Snohomish counties.
Rehearsals are held at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church on Tuesday evenings and one monthly Saturday morning.
Since its inception, the Chorale has been privileged to be under the direction of four talented and dedicated Artistic Directors / Conductors.
During the leadership of founder Joan Penney (1984-1993), the Chorale traveled to Carnegie Hall to perform Mozart's Requim and then the Nina Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Under Jim Matthews (1994-2003), a Chorale member and retired award-winning high school choral and instrumental music teacher, the membership grew to its current level.
After Janet Skones Hitt became Conductor (2004-2014), the Chorale participated in McIntyre Hall's 2005 opening season; performed at the 2006 Mozart Choral Festival in Salzburg and Vienna to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth; and performed at the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica as well as other historic Italian cathedrals during the 2011 Rome International Choral Festival.
In 2014, Dr. Adam Burdick became the Chorale's current Artistic Director and Conductor bringing with him a wealth of experience. Under his leadership, the Chorale has expanded its repertoire to include a broad range of music from many contemporary composers and incorporating a diverse variety of supporting musicians. In 2019, Chorale members made a four-stop spring tour of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Burdick continued to lead the Chorale through Zoom rehearsals. He then collected, edited and combined individual member recordings into a five-song 2020 Heralding Christmas program, which was presented in a live broadcast. To learn more about Dr. Burdick, read his bio.