About the Choir

Performing glorious choral music since 1924

Performing glorious choral music since 1924

Years of Glorious Choral Music

San José Symphonic Choir is a volunteer choral society, presenting choral masterworks and contemporary pieces since 1924.  It has been under the inspiring leadership of Maestro Leroy Kromm since 1985. The 110-voice Choir commissions and performs works by local composers, pieces that bring attention to concerns in our communities. In 1996 the Choir performed the world premiere of Requiem For Lost Children by Sondra Clark and, in 2003, participated in the world premiere of Sisters, Craig Bohmler’s work honoring San José and her sister cities.  In 2006 the Choir produced and performed the world premiere of Beatitude Mass, by Henry Mollicone.  To date, performances of Beatitude Mass around the nation, and our recording of the first performance, have raised over $85,000 to benefit charities that serve the needy worldwide.  Continuing in this tradition, in March 2010 the Choir presented the world premiere of Henry Mollicone’s Misa de los Inmigrantes at Mission Santa Clara.  Mollicone’s newest piece was written to raise awareness of the hardships faced by immigrants. Please view our Upcoming Concerts page for this season’s performances.

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Our History 1924-2015

The year was 1924. President Calvin Coolidge gave the first ever radio broadcast from the White House, feature length films were silent, the population of Santa Clara County was around 100,000, and the group that would become San Jose Symphonic Choir was born. Although SJSC has been known by three different names and made music with five conductors, one constant has been our membership: we have always been comprised of volunteer singers.

LeRoy Brant was our first music director and headed up the chorus for an amazing 40 years; our current conductor Leroy Kromm took over the baton in 1985. Then as now, programs from the Maestro Brant era leant heavily on oratorios, requiems, and other large works for choir and orchestra; in SJSC’s first known public performance, Brant conducted an assembled group of 200 chorus and orchestra members for a November 1924 performance at the State Teachers College (San Jose State University). Brant also began the custom of annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, a tradition that continues to this day.

Throughout our more than 90-year history, SJSC has maintained other traditions as well, including collaborating with local groups, premiering new works, and responding to community needs. In the 1990’s SJSC donated its services to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for their candlelight vigils; in 2002 and 2003, we performed Mozart’s Requiem in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as part of 9/11 memorial concerts; and in 2006 we participated in a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In one recent year, SJSC performed by invitation at seven special community events or memorial services.

SJSC often promotes and performs works of local composers. For example, in 1996 the Choir performed the world premiere of Requiem For Lost Children, written by South Bay composer Sondra Clark for the Kevin Collins Foundation for Missing Children; in 2003, we participated in the world premiere of Craig Bohmler’s Sisters, which celebrates San José and her sister cities; and for over 20 years, SJSC has collaborated with local composer Henry Mollicone, performing and premiering several of his works. Our most recent performance of a Mollicone work took place in 2012, when his Misa de los Inmigrantes was the centerpiece of the 100th anniversary celebration of St. Mary’s church in Los Gatos.

The Choir is also committed to keeping alive the world’s most cherished choral masterpieces. Throughout our history we have performed such treasures as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the Verdi Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ German Requiem, the Passions by Bach, Haydn’s Creation, and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

Every two to four years, the Choir also undertakes a summer tour, and SJSC members have sung in dozens of remarkable venues around the world. Several tours have centered around Eastern and Western European cities, but we have also performed in New York, Washington DC, Alaska, Israel and in the California missions.

While impossible to mention all memorable concerts, some SJSC highlights include the 1963 celebration of our 100th concert with a world premiere of a work by Flor Peeters dedicated to Maestro Brant; our 1991 concert with the Washu Citizen Chorus from Okayama, Japan (San Jose’s sister city); the complete, unabridged Messiah by G. F. Handel performed with period instruments at St. Joseph Cathedral in 2008; and of course singing with the incomparable Barbra Streisand in November 2012 at the HP Pavilion for an audience of 14,000.

Fast forward to today. Though the world has changed in ways unimaginable to our original members, we believe they would feel right at home singing with today’s San Jose Symphonic Choir.

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About: Maestro Kromm

Leroy G. Kromm, the director of San Jose Symphonic Choir (SJSC) since 1985, received two bachelor’s degrees in applied music and music education and a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Maestro Kromm has achieved widespread recognition as a versatile conductor, soloist, pianist and teacher. In addition to SJSC, Kromm is Head of Music Ministries at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Saratoga, and is a full-time member of the collegiate voice faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, formerly serving as Co-Chair. As a singer, Kromm has performed with major orchestras throughout the U.S. including the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and has several recording credits, including Harmonia Mundi and Helicon labels. Under his inspiring direction, SJSC has flourished and grown in size and musicianship. Notable recent performances include Handel’s complete “Messiah”, Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion,” both with period instruments, and the world premiere of Henry Mollicone’s “Beatitude Mass”. SJSC has seen the world on many concert tours with Kromm, from Spain to Scandinavia, from Italy to Australia, and from the missions and vineyards of California to the chancel of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC during their summer tour of 2009. His wide reputation has afforded him opportunities to also serve as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and consultant to many groups and organizations throughout the US.

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Board of Directors, 2016-2017

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