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Their vision is to elevate appreciation for the beauty and power of choral music through inspiration, excellence, and passion.

The Choral Society was formed in 1948 at Oak Park, following a performance of Elijah! – an oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn – at the Lobero Theatre, and has been making magnificent music since. Conducted by Jaffrey Harris, the group included 32 sopranos, 19 altos, 7 tenors, 2 baritones, and 4 basses.

It is now a semi-professional community chorus, approximately 80 singers strong from a wide range of age groups, drawn primarily from Santa Barbara County, as well as the greater Los Angeles area.

Photo by David Bazemore

Members perform a minimum of three concerts per season, often appearing with a full professional orchestra, and have the opportunity to sing both in the region and internationally. Audiences enjoy the benefit of a diverse repertoire, from great classical masterpieces to contemporary choral works and popular pieces, which often give voice to the human experience through new forms of musical expression.

Photo by David Bazemore

Thrilling collaborations with other arts organizations – such as State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Symphony and Opera Santa Barbara – not only enhance and expand the reach of performances, but also inspire and energize both singers and audiences. The level of musical excellence and exceptional programming are what keep bringing patrons back.

The Hallelujah Project 8, performing at the Lobero on December 10-11, is the first concert of The Choral Society’s exciting 75th Anniversary Season. This season also marks Artistic Director/Conductor Jo Anne Wasserman’s 30th year with The Choral Society.

Photo by David Bazemore

Their first Hallelujah Project family holiday concert was introduced at the Lobero in 2013, with T’was the Night Before Christmas narrated by author/comedienne Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes), accompanied by an orchestra, and a special visit from Santa.

This became the beginning of what is now an annual holiday tradition at the Lobero. The audience-friendly program also includes a guest appearance of children from The Music Academy’s SING! Program. Reading the Christmas story this year will be Scott Reed, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Music Academy.

Photo by David Bazemore

The Lobero has become like home to The Choral Society – a strong part of Santa Barbara cultural life, a welcoming place the community can still count on to honor family-friendly traditions. Performing on such an intimate stage makes them feel at one with audiences, who become enveloped in the melodious sounds.

This year’s celebratory season has something for everyone – from October’s impressive Carmina Burana collaborative revival to the grand finale Oak Park 75 picnic on June 28, with current and former singers, friends and families coming together to celebrate this milestone anniversary.

Tickets for The Hallelujah Project 8 are available at: For more information about The Choral Society’s 2022-23 season, please visit:

We hope you enjoy a peek into the Lobero archives.

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