The City Choir of Washington, celebrating its 10th anniversary under the artistic leadership of Robert Shafer, is known for its finely crafted sound, which the director has skillfully honed. An accomplished life-long educator, Maestro Shafer is a master at teaching new music to his singers through careful preparation and exquisite attention to details of vocal technique and styling appropriate to each musical genre. Shafer also treats his audiences to a creatively programmed subscription series, breathing new life into old masterworks and pairing them with stunning renditions of new or under-performed works, such as Arvo Part’s Te Deum or Benjamin Britten’s Cantata Misericordium or Tarik O’Regan’s Triptych, to name three recent highly acclaimed examples. Now poised to celebrate its Tenth Anniversary Season in 2016-17, City Choir will continue to be known for its consistently beautiful choral tone, clear diction, and loving attention to musical detail in the intimate setting of National Presbyterian Church and other approachable venues.
Besides performing to capacity audiences at its own yearly subscription series, The City Choir has collaborated and performed with The National Symphony Orchestra and The Washington National Opera Orchestra at The Kennedy Center and at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts. It has performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Stephen Lord, Randall Craig Fleischer, Ludwig Wicki, and Marvin Hamlisch. City Choir has also been honored to join with The Defiant Requiem Foundation and maestro Murry Sidlin to present performances of The Defiant Requiem at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center.
In the spring of 2014, the Choralis Foundation nominated The City Choir of Washington for an “Ovation” Award in Most Creative Programming.
Additional memorable orchestral performances by City Choir during its first nine seasons under Maestro Shafer’s baton include Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Fauré’s Requiem, Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers of 1610, Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and the world premiere of Lux Aeterna by Robert Shafer. The City Choir of Washington commemorated the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II with a performance that featured the world premiere of John Tavener’s Three Hymns of George Herbert, written specifically for the Diamond Jubilee festivities, and with the composer present for the program of British choral music in the setting of the Washington National Cathedral.
Each City Choir season also guarantees a highly regarded Music for Christmas performance that showcases a talented high school choral ensemble. The 2015-featured “Partner in Song” was the Damascus [MD] High School Chamber Singers under the direction of Brian Isaac.
The City Choir roster is composed of 120 experienced, professional-caliber volunteer singers who hail from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area, even extending out to Annapolis and Frederick, MD, south to Springfield, VA, and sometimes into Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The singers state enthusiastically that it is worth the drive to have the privilege to sing with Maestro Shafer.
Organizationally, The City Choir of Washington exists to dedicate itself to inspiring singers, audience members and the community at large to discover the rich musical and cultural heritage of choral music. Through performances and educational and community outreach programs such as The City Singers, our high school Partners in Song, and commitment to spotlighting emerging American Artist soloists, The City Choir of Washington aims to nurture the next generation of performers and audience members.