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There is only one chorus that has the distinction of being the voice of the Utah Symphony: That chorus is the Utah Symphony Chorus.
Maestro Maurice Abravanel has written that the (then Utah) Chorale is a chorus whose “courage, determination and artistry have made it possible for Utah audiences to hear countless musical masterpieces never before performed in Utah.”
1947 is when Abravanel came to the Symphony and started using choruses. In his first season he needed a chorus to sing Beethoven’s 9th. Since there was no established “Symphony Chorus”, he turned to the University of Utah in search of a group. There were several choruses at the U, and Dr. LeRoy J. Robertson was the Chairman of the Music Department from 1948. He allowed the choirs to combine forces so that they could provide Maestro Abravanel the body of singers he needed to do the work. The first ever collaboration of what would later become today’s Utah Symphony Chorus sang Beethoven’s Ninth (Choral) Symphony on March 13, 1948 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
Over the next three years, Abravanel continued to turn to the University of Utah choirs to provide the choral support he needed for the works he wanted to do. The next three performances with chorus were held at Kingsbury Hall, but everyone agreed that wasn’t a good place to perform. Following the 1950 concert of the Bach St. Matthew Passion, David O. McKay gave Abravanel the keys to the Tabernacle, and subsequent concerts were held there.
Not long after World War