The Lakeland Choral Society
Founded in 1967, the Choral Society, is a large auditioned chorus with a history of singing classics (and classical), show tunes, spirituals, hymns and anthems, from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert to Lauridsen, Walton, Copland, Rutter and many others. Now under the direction of Dr. Larry Sledge, Professor Emeritus of Music at Florida Southern College, the LCS enjoys the benefit of a long relationship with the college, which provides rehearsal space.
The Choral Society generally presents two concerts of its own in the Fall and Spring, performing a variety of choral literature, often with small orchestra. The Chorale also performs with the Imperial Symphony, with whom a presentation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is scheduled for 2015.
Although the performance of great music is our principal mission, the Choral Society raises money for and awards scholarships for promising music students as our contribution to the art of singing. In 2012 the LCS established the Florida Southern Children's Chorus consisting of the Children's Choir and the Girls' Choir. Since 2012 all of these efforts have been supported by the George W. Jenkins Fund provided through the Give Well Foundation. Learn more about the choirs by following the Youth tab on this site.
Smaller groups of the Chorale are also available to perform for special meetings and events.
Our 2014/2015 Season
Click on the Concerts tab for additional information.
Lakeland Choral Society is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to awarding music scholarships to vocal students, and performing great choral works. Our organization endeavors to give back to the community through our shared love of song, and to inspire a new generation of musicians to appreciate great works of choral literature. Music is a powerfully emotive tool capable of creating community where isolation existed. Among the aspirations of the Lakeland Choral Society is that of bridging the distance between the cities and towns of Polk County so that together they may resonate with the timeless harmonies of great choral music.
The Lakeland Choral Society's founder and director for fourteen years, Robert Boulware, organized the Society during the Fall of 1967 for the purpose of singing Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria with the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra (now the Imperial Symphony Orchestra). The symphony's concert, featuring the fifty-two voice Choral Society, was presented on December 12 in Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College. For several years, beginning in 1968, the Choral Society sang twice each year as a part of the orchestra's concert series, singing once with the orchestra and once presenting a full choral concert.
LCS has, through the years, performed a wide variety of choral music, both sacred and secular, and presented concerts in various locations in Lakeland and the surrounding communities. In addition to local performances, the LCS sang John Rutter's Requiem at Carnegie Hall as part of a ~200 member concert choir, and participated in the Alta Pusteria Choir Festival in northern Italy, along with 98 other choral groups from around the world in 2007. At our Fall 2008 concert, LCS commissioned and performed the premier of Sing to the Lord by Paul Basler, one of the most well-respected and performed composers of our era. Select LCS members presented concerts in Ireland in the summer of 2010, and our next international tour is set for the summer of 2014 (location tba).
Extended works performed by the LCS include both the Vivaldi and Poulenc settings of Gloria, Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise, Faure's Requiem, Rutter's Magnificat, Haydn's Heiligmesse, Mozart's Te Deum and Vespers, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, Brahm's Psalm 150, Schubert's Mass in G, Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and Randall Thompson's Frostiana.
In the 47 years of providing outstanding choral music performances in the Lakeland area, the Choral Society has had four other extremely fine directors, Ada Gribble, Bennett Penn, Moody Chisholm, and Dr. Larry Sledge, who has directed the group since 1985.