Red River Chorale
1101 4th Street, Suite 201, Alexandria. LA 71301

About the Chorale

Red River Chorale History

In the spring of 2005, a local singer and a highly respected music director discovered that they shared a dream--a dream of a volunteer choral group in which talented singers have the opportunity to perform challenging music for as many individuals as possible. With the encouragement and assistance of the Arts Council of Central Louisiana, contact was made with a local clergyman--a newcomer who had been a member of just such a group in another state -- the Red River Chorale was born. 

A preliminary Board of Directors was formed, consisting of some of the finest musicians and community leaders in the area, and the dream was on its way to becoming reality.  The Board determined that such a selective choral group would fill a void in the otherwise healthy arts community and would invite a strong response from both singers and audiences, a prediction which has proven true over the years.

The first Chairperson of the preliminary Board was Colleen Texada, a singer and community volunteer, and the first Artistic Director of the Chorale was Fred Graham, then the Music Director at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Alexandria.  After a summer of intense planning, auditions were held in August, 2005. The desire for such a group was evidenced by the eighty-plus singers who auditioned for the forty available positions!  Over the years, Mrs. Texada was followed as Chair of the Board of Directors by Bishop Ronald Herzog, Fred Alexius, Tina Smith, and Theresa Louviere, who is the current chair.  The Chorale has performed an average of four concerts per year, for a total of over sixty concerts, including a number of concerts with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.  It's current membership includes about forty-five auditioned singers, many of whom travel considerable distances for rehearsals and performances.

The first concert of the Red River Chorale, "Music for the Soul," was a sell-out.  It featured the unique and challenging work, "Missa Kenya" and was presented in October, 2005, at the cathedral.

During the first concert year, the Chorale presented two other concerts--a Valentine's Day dessert cabaret in two seatings, and a performance with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra of Mozart's "Requiem."

After two seasons, Fred Graham moved from the area, and the Chorale was fortunate in hiring as Artistic Director Dr. Burt Allen, Coordinator of Choral Activities at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Dr. Allen remained director through early 2020, when the COVID lockdown ended the concert season prematurely.  Dr. Allen decided to retire after that season.  The Chorale is very grateful to him for the growth and maturity it gained under his 13-year leadership.

In 2022, the Chorale decided that the time had come to make music again after the restraints of COVID, and was very fortunate to hire Jacob Wittkopp as Artistic Director.  Mr. Wittkopp also serves as Director of Choirs at Louisiana Christian University.  In May 2022, the Chorale performed its first concert in two years - "Hope and Restoration" - followed by a full concert season in 2022-2023.

As the Red River Chorale enters its seventeenth concert season, it is clear that it is firmly established in the Central Louisiana arts community.  It provides an opportunity for talented singers, both professional and amateur, to sing with a group of like-minded  musicians. It also provides the opportunity for the community to hear excellent choral music, often paired with professional instrumentalists, which has not been available in the past.  Through tax-exempt individual donations, ticket sales, and grants from a variety of sources, the Red River Chorale expects to remain a vibrant member of the arts community of the Central Louisiana area.

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