The South Shore Chorale began rehearsals in the fall of 1971 under the direction of Dr. Ray Wifler, music professor at the University of Wisconsin Center – Fond du Lac for a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Known as the Fond du Lac Oratorio Chorus, the choir performed major choral works with orchestra two times every year. In 2006, the name of the organization was changed to South Shore Chorale.
Since the inception, the Chorale has performed choral works including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams Hodie, Rutter’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Haydn’s Creation, Brahms’ German Requiem, Bach’s Jesu, Priceless Treasure, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Barnett's The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, Beethoven's A Choral Fantasy, and Faure’s Requiem. While major choral works performed with an orchestra is a major component of the organization, we have performed many other choral octavos by great choral composers.
Dr. Ray Wifler (1971-1972)
John Bauerlein (1972-1973)
Alan Lemery (1973-2005)
Cory Schneider (2005-present)
Who is the South Shore Chorale?
- We are Fond du Lac’s largest volunteer choral ensemble (no audition required to join). We average between 130-150 singers each semester.
- We perform two major concerts each year (December and March/April). Many of our concerts are performed with full orchestra and professional guest soloists.
- We welcome singers from all generations (high school – experienced), and all walks of life (doctors, lawyers, homemakers, teachers, secretaries, etc.) to perform with our Chorale.
- We embrace our rich sacred tradition (FDL Oratorio Chorus), but are building to the future through a recent name change (South Shore Chorale) to offer a wider variety of concerts including “An American Salute” which honored our veterans, “Earth Sea and Sky” which honored our mother Earth, and “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” which featured the great stage music from opera and Broadway musicals.
- We combine with other ensembles in the Fond du Lac area such as the Fond du Lac Area Children’s Chorale and Fond du Lac High School.
- We have promoted High School Outreach Projects such as our High School Art Contest with “An American Salute” concert and the High School “Messiah” Project (fall, 2010) giving high school students across Fond du Lac County the opportunity to sing with a semi-professional orchestra, professional soloists and large choral ensemble.
Our audience base has significantly grown so that we have needed to move our concerts to larger performance halls to accommodate audiences of 1,000 people.