“The Ebony Chorale has the energy of a gospel choir and the precision of a fine classical ensemble.” Charles Passey, Palm Beach Post
The Ebony Chorale represents singers, most of whom are not professional musicians by vocation, who dedicate their time to striving for excellence in the performance of choral music. Each week they give of themselves to be the best
vocal musicians possible. Vacations and schedules are arranged to meet the demands of rehearsals and performances. They sing for the joy and the love of music.
Founded and directed by Dr. Orville T. Lawton, The Ebony Chorale made its debut in 1992 when it performed with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in a performance of the choral movement to Beethoven’s monumental
Ninth Symphony for the dedication of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida. The Chorale has performed with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, James Judd, Conductor, the Boston Esplanade Orchestra, Harry Rabinowitz, Conductor and the Israeli Chamber Orchestra in a salute to George Gershwin, Philipp Entremont, Conductor.
The Chorale was featured in Klezmer Does The Blues, Aaron Kula, producer, a celebration of the connectedness between Jewish folk music and the Negro Spiritual. Additional performances have been for the Norton Art Gallery’s Muse Series, Florida Atlantic University’s African American Heritage Celebrations, University of South Florida’s Conference on The Negro Spiritual, Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Foundation, and numerous performances and concerts at area churches and for many civic organizations. In November 2006, the Chorale performed in the West Africa Choral and Performing Arts Festival, Ghana, West Africa and in March 2008 the Chorale participated in the International Festival of Choral Music in Verona, Italy, participating in the Folk Song Competition. Choirs from 25 countries were represented at the festival. The Ebony Chorale received a Second Place Silver Award in its first international competition. In July 2010, the Chorale traveled to Salzburg, Austria and performed in the Cantus Salisburgensis Summer Festival. The Chorale performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the historic Salzburg Cathedral directed by Maestro János Czifra, with an additional performance of selections from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana on the opening night of the festival. In February 2012 and 2015 the Chorale participated in the Heritage Festival of Negro Spirituals in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Chorale has performed in Prague, the Czech Republic, Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovaki . In July 2014 the Chorale presented a full concert for The National Association of Negro Musicians 95th Convention in Los Angeles, California.
In November 2015 the Chorale traveled to Cape Town, South Africa giving concerts with local African choirs. In March of 2016 the Chorale was featured in Joel Martin’s Footsteps of Peace and Debbie Cohn’s Uhuru Baba, both celebrations of the life of Nelson Mandela. Most recently the Chorale participated in the Rocky Mountain Spirituals Festival in Denver and served as the host for the 97th Convention of The National Association of Negro Musicians in West Palm Beach. In addition, the Chorale has served for the last five years as the backup choir for the Colors of Christmas concerts in West Palm Beach, a Stig Edgren production, featuring such outstanding artists as Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, James Ingram, Aaron Neville, Melissa Manchester, Sheena Easton, Patti Austin Ruebn Stoddard, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Stefanie Mills and Jennifer Holliday. To date, the Chorale has given over 400 performances throughout the state of Florida, as well as in California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Michigan.