About The Valley Chorus & Our Community
Established in 1955, The Valley Chorus is a non-profit music association comprised of non-professional singers assembled for the purpose of performing a wide variety of musical repertoire celebrating all genres, styles and cultures of vocal literature while providing an educational opportunity for its members to develop proper vocal skills and perform in vocal concert settings.
"An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man."
In loving memory of our Valley Chorus founder, Art Rae.
2015 marked a special milestone in the life of our Valley Chorus as we celebrate our 60th anniversary. In the fall of 1955, our "Valley chorus" was founded under the direction of Arthur Rae which held its first rehearsal on October 17, 1955. Quite by accident in 2005, we scheduled our fall valley chorus social dinner on the exact same date as the original first rehearsal. When this was pointed out to us by one of our original members, Harry Patterson, we had reason to celebrate the occasion. The first concert of our newly formed group featured Handel's Messiah which was performed on January 1956 and was very well received by the 600 people in attendance. In March of the same year, the Chorus performed Brahm's Requiem before an audience of 500. At the end of the first year, the chorus again performed the Messiah which was telecast by Elmira Channel 24 and sponsored by the Ingersoll-Rand.
The first pop concert by the group was performed in May of 1959. Hard to believe, but, for some reason by the fall of the same year, there seemed to be a lack of interest in the group and finances were in the red so there was no concert for the holidays and the group was disorganized until the following fall. By the fall of 1960, some work had been done on the overall make up of the organization and with a lot of work and dedication on many peoples part, they were able to begin anew and successfully held a holiday concert. Schedules were made for three concerts a year. The concert schedule eventually settled into two major concerts each year - Christmas and Spring. Since then, there have been many highs and lows with the chorus as is true of any organization, but the true testimony is that the "Valley Chorus" has indeed withstood the tests of the past 60 years and is stronger than ever!
Through the years the chorus has performed many large works as well as smaller ones with cantatas and masses to add to the more serious style music. In 1986, the chorus undertook its largest challenge in all of its years with four "Sold out" performances of the musical - "The Sound of Music" under the direction of our founder, Art Rae. Many who attended and performed still hold that to be the pinnacle of all of the 60 years of Valley Chorus performances. It was truly a production worthy of competing with the national touring company versions of the musical. One thing that certainly sets this group apart from many others is that they are capable of performing all kinds of music with the energy necessary to do every kind justice. The chorus is a non-profit organization that is held together by the love of music and the enjoyment of learning and performing for our ever-dedicated audiences. We have been very blessed to have the support of both the communities surrounding our performing areas and the individuals who recognize the importance of music in our daily lives.
As of 2014, we have had thirteen music directors, with eight of them returning for our 50th anniversary concert on may 13, 2006. Each and every member of our group is a very important part of the entire organization. Many of our members do huge amounts of extra work behind the scenes to make Valley Chorus successful. We are greater in number than we have ever been and that is key to the uniform concept that positive thinking and planning are essential to the longevity of our group. We are very blessed to have such a productive spectrum of voices come together each week and have a wonderful time creating music that fills our hearts and souls with the fruits of what music is all about. If you are not sure how music influences our lives everyday, just take a moment to think about life without any music. We sincerely thank each and everyone of you for your unwavering support of the Valley Chorus and we eagerly look forward to presenting quality music in the valley for at least another 60 years!
About Us and Our Community
In the northeastern corridor of Pennsylvania's scenic Bradford County, just south of the New York state border; the historic villages of Athens, Sayre, and South Waverly, Pennsylvania and Waverly, New York lie peacefully nestled between the Susquehanna river to our east, and the Chemung river to our west. These four contiguous communities make up the greater valley area.
Gently flowing beneath the beautiful blue ridge endless mountains which surround our picturesque valley; the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers eventually merge at historic Tioga point just south of Athens and become the mighty Susquehanna river. This beautiful area of northeastern Pennsylvania is affectionately known as "The Valley"; hence the name of our musical organization, "The Valley Chorus".
Sayre, Pennsylvania is rich in railroad history and owes it's very existence to the Lehigh Valley railroad. The railroad yards in Sayre proudly served as a major building facility and repair shop for steam locomotives and rolling stock of the Lehigh Valley railroad. Our 1881 Lehigh Valley train station in Sayre was recently restored and now serves as a showcase historical museum detailing the role the L.V.R.R. played in our community. Today, the Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Clinic campus in Sayre serves as one of this areas major leading medical centers.
Formerly known as tioga; athens, pennsylvania is equally rich in history. The famous american composer, stephen collins foster (1826-1864) lived in athens and attended school at the athens academy. At the age of 13, foster wrote his very first song in athens, "The tioga waltz"; a composition he penned for four flutes. On april 1, 1841, the athens academy held an exhibition in the very first and only house of worship in athens at that time, the athens presbyterian church. This was stephen fosters very first public performance which gave him great publicity to his efforts as a music composer. He also performed this composition at the school's 1841 commencement exercises. The original athens presbyterian church in which stephen foster performed was destroyed by fire 1858, and another church was built on the very same site three years later in 1861. Twelve years later in 1873, that building too was destroyed by fire, and a third church building was built in 1881 which is the iconic building we all know today.
In 1955, art rae founded our "Valley chorus" and established it as a non-profit association. The valley chorus has been a constant and vital presence in our community for the past 60 years. The valley chorus is a group of non-professional singers assembled for the purpose of performing a variety of styles of vocal music. The valley chorus provides an educational activity and learning opportunity for its members, and serves as a vehicle to encourage and promote public and community awareness and support of the performing arts. Seasonal membership in the valley chorus is open to all singers 15 years of age or older.