Mixed Chorus

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Type of entity

Corporate body

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Mixed Chorus

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Description area

Dates of existence



The University of Alberta Mixed Chorus is among the oldest non-sport organizations on campus, tracing its beginning to 1939 when a small choir was formed under the direction of Ottoman Cypress to supply music for Student Christian Movement services. In 1943, the Varsity Choir applied for membership to the Literary Association of the Students Union, allowing the choir to apply for Student Union funding to purchase music for the expanding choir. Rehearsals and practices for the choir were organized for the fall of 1944, under the leadership of Gordon F. Clark, a first-year medical student. Their first concert was presented in Convocation Hall on campus in February 1945. Their repertoire of short classical pieces and traditional folk songs prompted a name change and in 1945, the organization became officially known as the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus. The records have been arranged and described in two broad series and several sub-headings, with a basic chronological order maintained within each series. The textual files provide information about the early years of the Chorus' existence, particularly the years from 1946 to about 1971. Files maintained by the executive and directors (Richard Eaton and James Whittle) are significant for the information they provide about the Chorus' yearly operations and activities. Information in the files after the Whittle years is sketchier, and more incidental in nature. The textual files include correspondence, clippings, some meeting minutes, membership lists, the organization's constitution, and evidence of the planning and fundraising required to orchestrate the annual UAMC Spring Tour. Under Professor Eaton's leadership, which was to last for twenty years, the Chorus increased in size and accomplishment. The Mixed Chorus spring tour started in1947 to meet requests for the Chorus to appear in several Alberta cities and towns. The first tour, held between examination week and convocation in May, saw a group of about 80 members' travel through southern Alberta for nine days, giving a concert each night, and ending with a culminating performance in Convocation Hall in Edmonton. The Chorus dressed in formal attire for the tours; women in pastel evening gowns and men in dark suits and black bow ties. The spring tour (or May Tour) became an important annual event for the Mixed Chorus. Over the intervening years, tours expanded to include visits to communities in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Richard Eaton's sudden death while on sabbatical in 1968 was devastating to the Chorus members. James Whittle, a member of the Chorus and Assistant Conductor since 1964, took over as director of the after Professor Eaton's death. He conducted the Chorus in 1968, 1969 and 1971; Dr. David Stocker, a professor in the Department of Music, led the Chorus during 1970. In 1971, Dr. R.E. Stephens, Professor of Music Education at the University of Alberta, assumed the position of Conductor of UAMC, a post he held until 1986. His fifteen years with the Chorus were interrupted briefly by his sabbatical leave in 1979, when Merrill Flewelling conducted the Chorus. Robert de Frece, who sang in the Chorus from 1967 to 1971, took over as director of the UAMC from Ron Stephens in 1986 and is the present director. In 1988, the Faculty of Education Handbell Ringers was established as a separate sub-group available to current members of the Mixed Chorus; the Handbell Ringers perform annually with the UAMC. The Mixed Chorus Alumni Association was established in 1991 to promote continuing contact among Mixed Chorus alumni and to support and promote the activities of the UAMC. An annual alumni dinner is held prior to the Mixed Chorus Spring Concert.


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Internal structures/genealogy

After 1967, appointments to head the Mixed Chorus were made by the Department of Music. Heads: 1944-1947 Gordon F. Clark; 1947-1967 Richard S. Eaton

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Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

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