To further our legacy of sharing rich, diverse and artistically excellent choral experiences that bring together our members, audiences and communities.
To be a vibrant and inclusive chorus, advancing the finest of the choral arts and inspiring audiences in Southeast Wisconsin and beyond.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We value the wealth of diversity reflected in our members, audiences and communities. We celebrate all members for the strength their individual uniqueness, perspectives and lived experiences bring to our organization. We acknowledge that this is a journey. We commit to finding new ways to ensure inclusive and equitable opportunities and experiences for everyone.
The Milwaukee Choristers began in November, 1933 when nearly 20 graduates of Milwaukee’s Riverside High School A Cappella Choir decided to continue singing under the direction of their high school conductor, Ellen Sargeant. The chorus has been led by Dr. James B. Kinchen, Jr. since 1993. Dorothy Royt, Donald Mohr, Roger Tweiten, Mark Aamot and B.H. Diekhoff also served as music director.
The Choristers perform Christmas and spring concerts in December and April each year. Having been formed by high school choir alumni, they have a special affinity for young singers. Concerts occasionally include a “Back To Our Roots” segment, where area high school or university groups are invited to perform on the program. The Choristers also enjoy collaborating locally, regionally and nationally with other community choruses. They performed two concerts with the acclaimed Brazeal Dennard Chorale of Detroit in 2008 and the Decorah Chorale of Decorah, Iowa (home of Luther College) in 2010 and 2012.
The Milwaukee Choristers were selected to perform for Wisconsin Choral Directors Association conferences in 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2023. They were invited to sing for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. in 1984, the only Wisconsin chorus ever so honored.
The Choristers have released four commercially-produced CDs. In 2006 they sponsored a Milwaukee appearance by, and joined voices with, the internationally-renowned King’s Singers. International concert tours have taken them to Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Poland, The Czech Republic and Cuba.
- On Sunday, Nov. 19, 1933 at 2:30 p.m. a group of Riverside High School alumni — all of whom had sung in the school’s A Cappella Choir — gathered at Plymouth Church to form a new community chorus. They performed publicly for the first time on March 4, 1934 as the Riverside High School Alumni Chorus.
- In 1937 the group was renamed the Milwaukee A Capella Choristers.
- In 1938 we were invited to sing at the St. Louis convention of the National Music Educators Association.
- On August 28, 1948 a group of Choristers, led by member and attorney Edward Ramsey, signed papers to incorporate the group for the first time under the name “The Milwaukee A Cappella Choristers, Inc.”
- In 1964 we performed in the Wisconsin pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York City.
- On Oct. 7, 1970 we officially changed our name to “The Milwaukee Choristers, Inc.”
- In 1983 to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we commissioned and presented the world premiere of a choral work, “Olives of Endless Age,” by former Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn.
- In 1984 we were selected, in nationwide competition, to sing for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C., the first and only Wisconsin chorus ever so honored.
- In 1988 nearly 60 Choristers journeyed to England, Scotland and Wales for a concert tour.
- In 1989 we presented the first full-scale Milwaukee performance of John Rutter’s “Requiem.”
- In 1992 we sang by invitation for the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association (WCDA) meeting in Fond du Lac, WI. The Choristers made several such appearances in the following years: 1996 (Eau Claire), 1999 (Madison) and 2003 (Oshkosh).
- In 1994 nearly 50 singers took part in a concert tour to Germany, Austria, Poland and The Czech Republic.
- In 1996 we were guest performers in a Milwaukee concert presented by The Salvation Army Hendon Citadel Band from London, England, which was on a concert tour of the United States.
- In 1999 more than 40 singers joined in a concert tour of Italy that included a performance at a Sunday liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
- In 2006 we sponsored a Milwaukee appearance by, and joined voices with, the world-renowned King’s Singers at the Pabst Theater.
- In 2008 we commissioned three pieces of original choral music from three African American composers — Robert Harris of Northwestern University, Robert Morris of Minneapolis, and Milwaukee native Judith Baity, now living in California. The pieces were based on texts taken from poetry of the Harlem Renaissance period of the 1920s. The Choristers premiered these pieces as the centerpiece of a special concert on October 18 in collaboration with the Brazeal Dennard Chorale of Detroit. We later traveled to Detroit to present the program there with the Brazeal Dennard Chorale.
- In 2010 and 2012 we collaborated with the Decorah Chorale of Decorah, Iowa (home of Luther College) for performances in Milwaukee and Decorah.
- In 2014 we released our fourth commercially-produced CD, 80 – Eight Decades of Song!, in celebration of our 80th anniversary. We paid for the production with proceeds from a successful online crowdfunding campaign.
- In 2016 two dozen Choristers visited Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad, Cuba to perform, attend workshops and experience the culture.
- In 2018 the Choristers celebrated our 85th anniversary as a chorus and Dr. Kinchen’s 25th anniversary as our music director. We performed two pieces commissioned for our anniversary: “Softly the Night Is Sleeping” by Rosephanye Powell, Ph.D. and “When Music Sounds” by James Q. Mulholland.
- In 2022 the Choristers performed at the City of Milwaukee Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Deer District outside the Fiserv Forum.