Founded in 1979, The Metropolitan Chorale is a 90-voice auditioned chorus that is recognized as one of Metro Boston’s premier choral ensembles. The emphasis on culturally significant programming, combined with excellence in performance, yields a unique artistic contribution to the Boston arts community. The Chorale was recently praised by The Boston Musical Intelligencer for “its fine blend and well-shaped phrasing,” as well as its “sophisticated but equally heartfelt” interpretations. In a review of its debut appearance with the Boston Pops last December, Broadway World applauded the ensemble for its “outstanding vocal talent [and] exceptional charisma.” The Chorale celebrates its 35th anniversary during the 2014-2015 season.
Since 2004, the ensemble has been under the direction of Dr. Lisa Graham who also serves as the Evelyn Barry Director of Choral Programs at Wellesley College. Concerts explore works by many of today’s leading American and British composers, as well as major choral masterworks, including Mendelssohn Elijah, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and Handel’s Israel in Egypt. Programs feature important artists of our day from bass-baritone Justin Hopkins and Estelí Gomez, a lead artist with the Grammy Award-winning Room Full of Teeth, to Robin Young, host of NPR’s nationally syndicated program “Here and Now.” Commissions include works by Kirke Mechem and Boston-based composer Thomas Vignieri. In addition to performances at All Saints Parish in Brookline (Massachusetts), the Chorale may be heard throughout the Boston area at such prestigious venues as New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Last December, The Metropolitan Chorale made its Boston Pops debut under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart on a seven-concert tour of major cities on the East Coast.
Formerly known as the Brookline Chorus, the group had its first rehearsal with 16 singers in the summer of 1979 and its first full concert in the spring of 1980. It was founded as an initiative of the Brookline Music School, growing to over fifty members in its first year. In 1984, Anne Watson-Born took over the direction of the Chorus and remained for nine years. Watson-Born began a tradition of community involvement, including collaborations with the Brookline Arts Center, the Brookline Library, and the Coolidge Corner Theater.
In 1993, William Cutter became Music Director. Cutter initiated many changes in the Chorus, moving it from an un-auditioned community chorus to an auditioned group of 80 voices. Scott Allen Jarrett, who became Music Director in 2000, built on the work of his predecessors to enhance the performance and reputation of the Chorus in Boston’s choral community, and under his tenure the Chorus moved from two concerts a year to three.