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Who We Are

We inspire our community through artistry and innovation in choral
performances and education programs.

Core Values

  • Artistry
  • Commitment
  • Inspiring Curiosity
  • Innovation
  • Community


Inspiring love of choral music and lifelong learning.


We inspire our community through artistry and innovation in choral performances and education programs.

About Pacific Chorale

Founded in 1968 by Dr. Maurice Allard, Pacific Chorale is internationally recognized for exceptional artistic expression, stimulating American-focused programming, and influential education programs. Under the artistic direction of Robert Istad, the Chorale presents a substantial performance season of its own at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, California, and is sought regularly to perform with the nation’s leading symphonies. Pacific Chorale has infused an Old World art form with California’s hallmark innovation and cultural independence, expanding the traditional concepts of choral repertoire and performance.

Pacific Chorale is comprised of 200 staff and volunteer singers. In addition to its long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, the Chorale has performed with such renowned American ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and Musica Angelica. Other noted collaborations within the Southern California community include the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and Riverside Symphony.

During the remarkable 45-year tenure (1972-2017) of Artistic Director Emeritus John Alexander, the Chorale toured extensively in Europe, South America and Asia, performing in London, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, and collaborating with the London Symphony, the Munich Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux and L’Orchestre de St-Louis-en-l’Île of Paris, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the China National Symphony, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Estonian National Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina. In 2018, Pacific Chorale traveled to New York City to join Pacific Symphony in making their Carnegie Hall debut, performing The Passion of Ramakrishna as part of composer Philip Glass’s 80th birthday celebration.

Education programs are central to the Chorale’s vision of inspiring love of choral music and lifelong learning. Pacific Chorale’s innovative educational initiatives have opened the door to the art of choral music and the magic of the creative process for thousands of students and adults annually, including: a Choral Academy for elementary school students modeled on the El Sistema movement; a Choral Camp presented in association with California State University, Fullerton providing high school students with training in music theory and vocal production; a Choral Festival uniting 400 singers each summer in a free community performance; Intro to the Arts and Passage to the Arts, partnerships with local social service organizations and high school choral directors that allow students, at-risk youth, and low-income families to attend Pacific Chorale performances free of charge; competitions and master classes to nurture the talent of young composers; and Concert Previews that provide deeper insight into the Chorale’s performance repertoire.

Pacific Chorale has received numerous awards from Chorus America, the service organization for North American choral groups, including the prestigious “Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence,” the first national “Educational Outreach Award,” the 2005 ASCAP Chorus America Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming, and the 2015 “Education and Community Engagement Award.”

Pacific Chorale can be heard on numerous recordings, including American Voices, a collection of American choral works; Songs of Eternity by James F. Hopkins and Voices by Stephen Paulus, featuring Pacific Symphony; a holiday recording, Christmas Time Is Here, on the Gothic Records label; a live concert recording of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Vespers; the world premiere recording of Frank Ticheli’s The Shore for chorus and orchestra; and the world premiere recording of Jake Heggie’s choral opera The Radio Hour, all conducted by John Alexander. Pacific Chorale also appears on six recordings released by Pacific Symphony and conducted by Carl St.Clair: Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire, Water, Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio; Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem; Philip Glass’s The Passion of Ramakrishna; Michael Daugherty’s Mount Rushmore; Richard Danielpour’s Toward a Season of Peace; and William Bolcom’s Prometheus with pianist Jeffrey Biegel. In 2019, Pacific Chorale recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 8—performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel—for Deutsche Grammophon, and music by Composer-in-Residence Tarik O’Regan conducted by Robert Istad for Yarlung Records.

Pacific Chorale

Our Singers Pacific Chorale

In 1968, when the very first audition call went out for the group that would come to be known as Pacific Chorale, conductor Maurice Allard nervously stated, “If 35 show up for auditions, I’ll take all 35.” His nerves must have been calmed when 116 people turned out, affirming Orange County’s love of choral singing!

Today more than 200 singers, both staff and volunteer, make up Pacific Chorale’s performing roster. Hailing from all walks of life, these talented and dedicated individuals unite over their shared love of choral music. To be a member of the Chorale, they must pass a rigorous audition and commit to an intense rehearsal and performance schedule–which they do with aplomb!

We recently asked some of our singers to share with us what being in Pacific Chorale has meant to them. Here is what they told us:

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

  • Andrew Brown,
    President & CEO*
  • David Bunker, Chair, Innovations*
  • Christopher Lindley,
    Chair, Marketing*
  • Susan Lindley, Chair, Education*
  • Mary A. Lyons,
    Chair, Development*
  • Rick McNeil
  • Marcia O’Hern, Secretary*
  • Thomas A. Pridonoff,
    Immediate Past Board Chair*
  • Stephane Quinn
  • Ryan Ratcliff,
    Artists’ Council Representative
  • Craig Springer, Board Chair*
  • Michael Vantrease,
  • Amanda Whiting
  • Charles Zhang,
    Chair, Nominating*

* Executive Committee member


  • Robert Istad,
    Artistic Director
  • Andrew Brown,
    President & CEO
  • Molly Buzick Pontin,
    Vice President, Director of Education & Community Programs
  • Abby Manaye,
  • Ryan McSweeney,
    Director of Patron Services
  • Alex Nelson,
    Director of Artistic Production
  • Natalie Hunter,
    Interim Director of Marketing

Artistic Staff

  • Kibsaim Escarcega,
    Interim Assistant Conductor
  • David Clemensen, D.M.A.,
  • Rebecca Hasquet,
    Soprano Section Leader
  • Jane Shim,
    Alto Section Leader
  • Nicholas Preston,
    Tenor Section Leader
  • Brianna Harley Adams,
    Teaching Artist

Volunteer Administration

  • Barbara Kingsbury,
  • Ryan Ratcliff,
    Artists’ Council President