The West Bay Chorale
Great performances of classic music for
Rhode Island's West Bay area and beyond
The West Bay Chorale began its life as the Warwick Ecumenical Choir in 1979. Prominent members of local churches got together to begin the effort. Membership grew, and the first name change occurred when the choir became the Warwick Civic Chorale. As part of the Warwick Consortium of the Arts, the Chorale sang for many civic events. It received its first grant from the “Arts in the Park” program. When members of the Chorale began coming from all over the West Bay, the name was changed to again reflect new scope within the group. The Chorale was incorporated in the State of Rhode Island in 1995 and received IRS 501(c)(3) status in 1996.
In 1999 the Board of Directors began working with the Business Volunteers for the Arts, Rhode Island, in order to develop greater funding for its ambitious plans. Within the past ten years, the West Bay Chorale has raised funds to purchase choral risers, an acoustical shell, a new digital piano and a customized trailer which enables the Chorale to travel with all of its equipment.
The chorale began to add major works by composers such as Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven to its repertory. WBC has spotlighted other musical organizations including the American Band, the Rhode Island Wind Ensemble, Pilgrim High School, and (most recently) Atwater – Donnelly. It has brought musical groups from Canada and Belgium to Rhode Island. The Chorale has moved to fill a void in this state (no Gilbert & Sullivan company) with successful performances of Pirates of Penzance in 2000 and Mikado in 2003.
Throughout its history, the West Bay Chorale has shared its music with many religious, civic, fraternal, and historical organizations. It has performed for Gaspee Days events, Inaugurations, First Night in Providence, and at the Breakers Mansion in Newport. It has raised money for the Blackstone Chapter of Retired Citizens as well as Tollgate Winman Orchestra.
Three special programs which are a part of the Chorale’s work are the Conducting Intern Program, the Awards for Excellence Program, and the Young Artists Program. The Intern Program invites young college musicians to serve as guest conductors and as apprentices to the conductor. The Awards for Excellence program is a scholarship program designed to help outstanding musicians further their college studies.The Young Artists Program invites high school and college students to sing with a chorale, an experience not offered to many musicians of this age group. Their membership fee is waived and they are mentored by a member of the West Bay Chorale. The Chorale looks forward to expanding this program in the future.