History of the Program
1964 - 1991 Paul Salamunovich, director
1991 - 1992 Halbert Blair, interim director
1992 - present Mary Breden, director of choral activities
As we come together to rehearse we integrate musicality – musical expressiveness – into the learning process from day one of the semester. Musicality is not the "frosting on the cake" to be added once we have "learned the notes". Musicality is the "soul" of each piece we perform, the reason we want to search for deeper feeling in it, the reason that music exists.
The program for the Fiftieth Annual Spring Chorale on May 1, 2015 celebrated many aspects of the work and history of the University Choruses. Although choral singing was present in various forms on the campus of Loyola as early as 1927, the seed for the choral tradition that we know today actually began in 1963 when Fr. Richard Trame, S.J. became the Moderator of the Glee Club which at the time was directed by William Hollenbeck. In the course of that year Fr. Trame was instrumental in securing the services of a young Paul Salamunovich as the conductor of the Glee Club. In the fall of 1964, with the arrival of Salamunovich, the Glee Club was renamed the Men's Chorus and so began a marvelous musical journey.
The period between 1964-1973 saw collaborative efforts in the choral offerings between Loyola University and Mount St. Mary's College where Salamunovich was also working as choral director. In addition to Loyola's Men's Chorus and the "Mount's" Women's Chorus, a mixed group, the Mount Singers, was established drawing members from both schools. 1966 saw the inception of the Spring Chorale, a major choral/orchestral concert. The church choirs from St. Charles Borromeo and, for a time, St. Basil's, both directed by Salamunovich, also sang on this program through 1991.
Loyola University merged with Marymount College in the mid seventies, becoming Loyola Marymount University. With the development of a strong Women's Chorus on campus the combined work with the Mount ended. What had been the Mount Singers now became the Consort Singers, a mixed group drawing now from LMU's Men's and Women's Choruses. Christmas Concerts, tours, and the Spring Chorale continued to feature each of the groups individually and in combination. LMU became known around the country as having one of the finest and most artistic collegiate choral programs. In 1991 Paul Salamunovich was appointed the Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and with this move his tenure of twenty-seven years at the university came to a close with the 26th Annual Spring Chorale. In the 1991-1992 academic year Dr. Halbert Blair served as Interim Director of the choruses, during which time the university held a national search for a new permanent director. Dr. Mary Breden joined the faculty of the Department of Music as Director of Choral Activities in the fall of 1992.
During the Salamunovich years, the LMU Choruses rose to high prestige in the Los Angeles area through annual festival performances sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Intercollegiate Choral Association (PSICA) and on the national level through appearances at conferences sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). International note came when the Men's Chorus joined by the men of the St. Charles Borromeo Choir appeared in full concert as the Festival Singers of Loyola Marymount University at the first Pacific International Festival of Male Choirs in Vancouver, British Columbia. Breden, a protégée of Salamunovich, continued with many familiar components of LMU's choral structure – the Gala Christmas Concert and the Spring Chorale continuing to be the culmination of each semester's work. The Choruses have continued to receive invitations to sing at ACDA conferences and the Consort Singers continue to excel in the PSICA Intercollegiate Festival: "Cultured, refined, and elegant singing throughout your program" (René Clausen, 2015).
Although the original Men's and Women's Choruses were combined into one large mixed group during the interim year and became, under Breden's direction, the Concert Choir, a Women's Chorus has been reinstated and the combined men occasionally perform as an ensemble within the structure of a concert. The Choruses continue touring domestically, still travelling to central and northern California, but also extending to the other states around the country – returning to Arizona, new visits to Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and Massachusetts. Alumni from throughout the Salamunovich years joined 115 current singers in 1997 for a grand performance of the Fauré Requiem conducted by Paul Salamunovich at Carnegie Hall. The international travel that began with the Men's Chorus performance in Vancouver British Columbia in 1990 has expanded with the Choruses presenting formal concerts and Masses in Venice, Lucca, and Rome, Italy (2010), Munich, Germany; Salzburg and Vienna, Austria (2012) and in Paris, Versailles and the region of Normandy, France (2015).
With the approaching academic year, the Choruses look forward to their 4th international tour that will take them to London and Paris (2019). This will be Mary Breden's final appearance as LMU's Director of Choral Activities.