The Duluth-Superior Symphony Chorus has been an important part of the DSSO since 1959. They have joined the orchestra in performing master works and pops concerts throughout the years. Who are these dedicated singers and who has been responsible for their success?
The Duluth-Superior Symphony Chorus is a volunteer chorus made up of men and women from around the region. There are doctors, lawyers, teachers, homemakers, students, and business men and women. They all have one thing in common: a love of singing classical music. Some have been faithful members for many years. They include Robert Ballou, Rose Zimmerman, Adrienne Thureen, Jim Stewart, Beverly Wipson, Alberte White, Dick and Yvonne Anderson, and Robert and Andrea Asleson, just to name a few.
During his tenure, Herman Hertz rehearsed and prepared the chorus for both the operas and the master work concerts. When Joseph Hawthorne became the conductor in 1968, the responsibility for preparing the chorus was given to the chorusmaster. Harris Balko became the first chorusmaster and served in that position until 1984. By that time, Taavo Virkhaus was the conductor of the symphony. Maestro Virkhaus assumed the responsibility of rehearsing the chorus, and created the position of the chorus administrator to take care of all the administrative duties involved with the chorus. Maestro Virkhaus rehearsed the chorus for several years and then turned it over the Andrew Johnson. From 1991 until June of 1999, Dr. Stanley Wold was the chorusmaster. Dr. Wold took time off in 1995 and Dr. Thomas A. (Art) Bumgardner stepped in as chorusmaster. Dr. Matthew Faerber took over in the fall of 1999. A very important part of rehearsing the chorus is the piano accompanist. Dr. Beth Gilbert has filled that position since 1987.
Over the years, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Chorus has been joined by other choruses from around the region. Among those are the University Singers from UMD; the University of Wisconsin-Superior choir; the Northland College choir; the East Range Choral Society; the Hibbing Community College choir; and the Lake Superior Youth Chorus.
Through the hard work and dedication of the chorus members, and the excellent direction from the chorusmasters, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Chorus has pleased audiences over the years with wonderful choral music.
For more information about how to join this volunteer chorus, please call 218-623-DSSO (3776).
Dr. Matthew Faerber is the leader of the all-volunteer DSSO Chorus. Dr. Faerber is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he also heads the vocal music education program. He has earned advanced degrees from the University of Iowa and Brigham Young University. Dr. Faerber is also active as a clinician and pianist. He and his wife Betsy are the parents of four children.