Over the next 30 years Choral Union continued to give entertainments and concerts, although not always annually. The singing society was revived in 1911 by Professor A.E. Whitford who gathered a group of college students and community members for a public performance that December. The performance was heralded as “the most striking musical production ever given here by local talent”.
Choral Union has made history by performing a number of “firsts” including the Midwest premiere of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1953), Boatwright’s Canticle of the Sun, Vaughan-Williams’ Hodie, and Finzi’s Intimations of Immorality as well as several state premieres.
Choral Union has never had auditions and anyone who loves music and loves to sing has always been welcome. Singers who have years of training stand next to those who just love to sing, some who cannot even read music.
The greatness of Choral Union comes from the tremendous bond and fellowship between the singers themselves, and with the director, as they work to perform some of the greatest choral music ever written. The emotional highs of singing together are what brings members back year after year.
Bernie Westlund, Choral Union director for 30 years, said that for singers, the enjoyment is in rehearsing and learning the meaning of the music beyond the notes on the page. The performance is their joyful gift to the audience.