The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, a fully professional chamber chorus, was founded by Lawrence Bandfield, who committed his energies to the building of a professional chamber choral ensemble that would someday be the artistic equal to the already established and respected Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Opera. Bandfield recruited a dedicated board of directors, who planned with him for almost two years before the Chorale presented its first performance in the summer of 1983. Continuous summer seasons followed and a winter festival was begun in 1988.
Since its inception the Desert Chorale has been noted for its effectiveness of programming and virtuosity of performance. Critics and audience members alike have consistently praised the Chorale for presenting some of the world’s most significant and engaging repertoire, from ancient to modern, in performances of the highest artistry.
In addition to its performances in and around Santa Fe, the Desert Chorale has been broadcast regularly on radio programs such as The First Art and Performance Today, and has released many recordings. The Chorale’s first commercial disc, Sounds from Santa Fe, is available on the Musical Heritage Society label, and the Chorale is featured on Christmas Around The Country, a CD produced by National Public Radio. The Chorale has also been featured on several local PBS television broadcasts, including KNME-TV’s Christmas in New Mexico.
Performances are in some of the most beautiful and historic sites of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, including the Loretto Chapel, Santuario de Guadelupe, and San Felipe de Neri. In addition, newer sites such as Santa Maria de la Paz, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, or the Albuquerque Academy, are no less appealing in architectural design or acoustical sonority.
In 1999, after a two-year nationwide search, the Artistic leadership of the Chorale passed to Dennis Shrock, who is continuing to bring masterpieces of music to public performance and who is upholding the tradition of excellence. In his second season as Artistic Director of the Chorale, Shrock has been hailed for bringing the Chorale to new and exciting levels of artistry.
Viste the Sante Fe Desert Chorale’s Website