Our Artistic Director, Dr. Colin Armstrong, and Assistant Director, Sarah Rose.
The Ensemble is a smaller auditioned group, made up of chorus members. The Ensemble will often perform a selection during our concerts, but also continues to perform for community organizations or events.
A native of Vancouver Canada, Colin completed undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta), where he received his B.M. in trumpet performance and B.Ed. in secondary instrumental and choral music in 1994. He moved on to the graduate choral conducting program at the University of Alberta (Edmonton), earning his M.M. in 2000.
After five years of public school teaching in Edmonton, Colin continued his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his DMA in 2011, studying choral music, with cognates in music education and voice.
Academic positions followed at Susquehanna University (2009-2013) and Hartwick College (2013-2016). Dr. Armstrong was also the Artistic Director of the Catskill Choral Society during his tenure at Hartwick College.
Colin has guest conducted and
presented at conferences in Canada and throughout the northeastern US. He is excited about the 2023-2024 concert season, featuring the Candlelight Concerts in December, the expanded Black History Month Festival in February, and the Choral Billboard concert in May.
Learn more about Colin at:
Sarah Rose received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Penn State University and her Master of Voice Pedagogy degree from Westminster Choir College.
Sarah has served as the Director of Choral Music at
Sussex Tech High School since 2007 and the Assistant
Director of the Chorale since 2014. Sarah accompanies
for other various choral and theatre groups and is the director of music at Lewes Presbyterian Church.
She enjoys participating in community theatre and teaches voice and piano lessons from her home in Lewes, where she resides with her husband Danny and their two young
children, Benjamin and Hattie.
PHOTOS AND BIO COMING SOON!
Board President | Denise Adkins
Bio Coming Soon
The Chorale was originally organized under the auspices of the Sussex County Arts Council to join with the Delaware Symphony and guest soloists in a sing-along performance of Handel’s “Messiah in 1985. When Beth Hochholzer first moved to Sussex County there was no organization providing the opportunity to participate in (let alone listen to) a live performance of Handel’s Messiah during the Christmas season. Beth’s enthusiasm and perseverance allowed the group to establish itself as an organized musical entity. The Chorale has continued to provide listening pleasure to large audiences of choral music fans in the area. The group evolved under the leadership of volunteer Executive Director Beth Hochholzer, Music Director Richard Eckerd, and a host of Board Members who stepped up to serve the group with necessary support. For many years, the Southern Delaware Choral Society presented annual sing-along “Messiah” concerts and performances of choral Masterworks.
Richard Eckerd continued as Music Director until 2000. It was during his tenure that the Chorale expanded its repertoire and moved to a two-concert season. Also while Eckerd was Director, the Southern Delaware Choral Society commissioned an oratorio by pianist and composer Lee Mitchell. “Delaware (A Secular Oratorio)” premiered Sunday, April 14, 1996, at Sussex Central Senior High School, in Georgetown, Delaware, followed by repeat performances throughout the state. The Lee Mitchell Scholarship was begun with an endowment from the family of the recently deceased composer. This scholarship was established in 1999 to encourage talented high school singers to participate in community choral singing. The program continues today.
David Miller became the next Music Director in 2001. He held the position for six years, during which he created the Southern Delaware Choral Society Ensemble. The Ensemble is a smaller auditioned group, made up of chorus members. The Ensemble will often perform a selection during our concerts, but also continues to perform for community organizations or events. John Ranney took over as Music Director in 2006. He was one of the founding members of SDC, having sung both as chorus member and as featured bass soloist. A Lutheran pastor in Milford since 1978, he has a long history of service to this region’s arts scene. John brought a dynamic demeanor and rich sense of humor to the podium. At this time the repertoire expanded to include programs of the Great American Songbook and Broadway. John had to relinquish the position due to subsequent paralysis after surviving a massive stroke.
Ann Freeman held the informal position of Assistant Director in the fall of 2012, so she was able to step in as the next Conductor. She remained in the position from 2012 through the 2014 season, allowing the organization to continue through its leadership procurement challenges. During her tenure, we collaborated with the Newark Symphony and initiated the February concerts of gospel music. In July 2014 the group officially changed its name to Southern Delaware Chorale to resolve continued confusion with another choral group. After a year-long search for a new Artistic Director, Joseph Shortall was hired. Mr. Shortall lived and worked in Baltimore, and the Board decided to formalize the position of Assistant Director.
Current Artistic Director , and Conductor, Dr. Colin Armstrong stepped onto the podium in January 2018. A native of Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Armstrong has made Delaware his home, and the Chorale part of his personal legacy. During his tenure the choral repertoire has again expanded, while still maintaining a three-concert season. In 2018, the Chorale collaborated with the Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra for performances of Handel’s “Messiah” and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The Chorale embraces collaboration within Delaware's artistic communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic deeply affected individuals and non-profit organizations like the Southern Delaware Chorale.. Several concerts were cancelled, but the help of Dr. Armstrong and Assistant Director Sarah Rose, the Chorale continued to sing through ZOOM rehearsals. The Chorale rehearsals followed pandemic protocols, which fortunately led to a limited performance in June 2021.
The goals of the Chorale have remained essentially the same since its founding: to provide a vehicle for local singers to come together, hone their skills, and sing choral master works to Southern Delaware audiences. The Southern Delaware Chorale looks to grow its regional impact through increasing its roster of choristers, diversifying its community engagement initiatives, and partnering with artistic communities, and arts advocates to continue bringing high quality choral music to Sussex County and beyond.
This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com
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