For over 70 years, the El Paso Chorale—a 100-voice adult choir—has been performing major choral and orchestral works in El Paso. This year, the Chorale celebrates its 25th year under the direction of Prentice Loftin. All former Chorale members are invited to join in the first performance of the season: Handel’s Messiah at the Abraham Chavez Theatre on December 8.
Chorale members come from all walks of life—students, teachers, doctors, lawyers—and are residents of El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, and Las Cruces. They rehearse once a week in preparation for performances, creating a community through music.
Mr. Loftin began his career as a singer, performing many of the standard tenor operatic and oratorio roles in his twenties, but is now best known as a conductor, music administrator and voice teacher. His private voice students have been heard on the world’s greatest stages including The Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric Opera, and San Francisco Opera House in the United States and many European opera stages. One of those students, Levi Hernandez, is now an artistic advisor for the El Paso Choral Society and will perform the bass arias in Handel’s Messiah.
A native El Pasoan, Mr. Loftin has spent his career building and developing music organizations in the El Paso region. He was the Founding General Director of El Paso Opera, the Founding Conductor/Director of El Paso Chamber Choir, and the Founder of El Paso Conservatory of Music. His work has had a dramatic impact on the musical arts available today in the El Paso region. For a generation, his UTEP voice students provided the base of singers to build El Paso Opera, the El Paso Chorale and the 24-voice professional El Paso Chamber Choir. “I didn’t want my singers to stop singing,” explained Mr. Loftin. So, he created opportunities for them to sing and be on stage with wonderful, professional opera singers.
After a brief hiatus, Mr. Loftin revived the El Paso Choral Society with a focus on major choral works. Mr. Loftin saw the desire not only of the adult singers to have an opportunity to perform but also of the general public to hear the classic choral and orchestral works. Since December 2015, the Chorale has been regularly performing at the Abraham Chavez Theatre.
In April, the Chorale collaborated with the professional orchestra of Juarez and performed Carl Orff’s dramatic Carmina Burana in both El Paso and Juarez. This season, the Chorale will perform with its own professional orchestra for Handel’s Messiah on December 8 and the Verdi Requiem on March 23, 2019. Both concerts feature professional soloists who have performed on some of the greatest stages in the United States. The Chorale will also perform the holiday opera Amahl and the Night Visitors with set and costumes at the First Baptist Church on January 26, 2019.
Tickets for Handel’s Messiah are on sale at Ticketmaster, the Plaza Theatre Box Office, and the El Paso Choral Society (915-259-4999). More information about the El Paso Choral Society and its full 2018-2019 season is available at www.epchoralsociety.org.