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about alexandria choral society

Sarah Wise, Alto

There's nothing like making music with others to form lasting bonds, and nowhere is that more true than with ACS.

With the encouragement of the Alexandria City Council, Alexandria Choral Society (ACS) was formed in 1970 as a component of the Performing Arts Association of Alexandria. ACS was independently incorporated in 1978. Beginning with the vision of founding director Francisco de Araujo, ACS has delighted audiences year in and year out, and the baton has passed from one illustrious hand to the next. 


Now under the direction of Brian Fontaine-Isaac, who began his tenure as Artistic Director in 2017, ACS looks forward to many more years of bringing great choral performances to the city of Alexandria.


For more than 45 years, ACS performances have enriched the community with a broad spectrum of choral works, from the Renaissance to modern American composers, from small chamber pieces to major works for chorus and orchestra, and from a great variety of musical cultures. For major works, ACS has often collaborated with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and other instrumental groups from the Northern Virginia area.  


Contemporary music performances have included several choral pieces commissioned by ACS, perhaps most notably the “Alexandria Suite,” a setting by Virginia composer Russell Woollen of eight poems by Alexandria poet laureate Jean Elliot, celebrating the history and beauty of the city. ACS premiered the “Alexandria Suite” in 1987 and presented it numerous times during the city’s 250th anniversary year in 1999. 


On two occasions, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce selected ACS for its ALEX Award, in recognition of excellence in service to the arts in Alexandria.  In 1992, ACS and artistic director Kerry Krebill received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ first award to a chorus for “Adventuresome Programming.”  However, ACS is especially proud of a comment many years ago by Joseph McLellan, long-time chief music critic of the Washington Post, who wrote about the Alexandria Choral Society: "This chorus is one of the things that makes Alexandria a very special place."


The roster of distinguished music directors includes Francisco de Araujo, Martin Piecuch, Robert Shafer, Douglas Major, Kerry Krebill, Keith Reas, Philip Cave, Neil Weston, Janet Davis, and Brian Gendron.

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