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Our History

Since its inception in the spring of 1985, Atlanta Master Chorale has grown from an enthusiastic volunteer choir to a nationally-recognized ensemble of auditioned singers that is known equally for its technical excellence and its unparalleled choral artistry. It has been an amazing transformation, born of vision, effort, and, most importantly, a shared commitment to performing timeless choral music. Several important milestones mark turning points in Atlanta Master Chorale’s history. From the late 1980s to the early part of the new century, Atlanta Master Chorale’s reputation grew significantly as a result of its 15 consecutive performances in the Choral Artists Series of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2000, to reflect both its evolving mission and broader audience, the group changed its name from Gwinnett Festival Singers to Atlanta Sacred Chorale. In January of the same year, ASC also gained a new director, Dr. Eric Nelson, whose exceptional leadership and skill has steadily propelled Atlanta Master Chorale’s choral artistry to its current recognition as a professionally-trained choir. Throughout its development, Atlanta Master Chorale has maintained a consistent focus on celebrating and performing music drawn from the entire spectrum of sacred choral music. Initially dedicated solely to the performance of a cappella choral literature, Atlanta Master Chorale has since expanded its repertoire to include accompanied major and minor works as well as the traditional a cappella repertoire. Each year, audiences in Atlanta and around the southeast are treated to a growing number of concerts by Atlanta Master Chorale, each of which exemplifies an important aspect of Atlanta Master Chorale’s mission of “lifting the spirit through choral artistry.”

2017 American Choral Directors Association National Convention Featured Choir

Atlanta Master Chorale has been selected from nearly 300 auditioning choirs to perform at the American Choral Directors Association 2017 National Convention in Minneapolis in March. Less than 30 choirs, and only a handful of community choirs, have been asked to perform in front of the thousands of choral directors from around the country who convene every 2 years to celebrate true choral artistry.

We are thrilled and humbled to accept the invitation to be a part of the conference theme “A Life of Song,” which will honor choral music’s enduring ability to have meaning in every stage of life. In addition to some of our favorite music from recent concerts you’ve attended, our program for this national spotlight concert will include a new commission by American Composer Shawn Kirchner, written just for Atlanta Master Chorale, and premiered at the convention.

“Singing at National ACDA is the pinnacle of choral achievement for any ensemble, but especially for a community choir. This is a stunning milestone, and a tribute to Atlanta Master Chorale’s remarkable talent and commitment of time and energy over many months (and for some, many years) of Tuesday night rehearsals!”
– Eric Nelson, Artistic Director

2014 Prudential Award for Board Governance, BoardSource

Among thousands of BoardSource member organizations across America, Atlanta Master Chorale took home top honors, the Prudential Leadership Award, at the 2014 BoardSource Leadership Forum.
“I am enormously proud of what we have achieved together as an organization,” — artistic director, Eric Nelson. “Our artistic achievement has been fueled and supported by our amazing board members.”

2013 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America

The Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence is presented annually to one member choir of Chorus America which demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to outreach, education, and/or culturally diverse activities. Prior recipients include Dale Warland Singers, Chanticleer, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Los Angeles Master Chorale, VocalEssence and most recently in the adult volunteer choir category, Choral Arts. Thank you, Chorus America! We would also like to thank our board members, Artistic Director, officers, singers, and especially our audience and loyal fans who’ve made this tremendous honor possible!