Our History

Bel Canto Chorale organized in 1968. In a letter dated September 30, 1968 to the Burlington City Council written by Chuck Rucker the group "decided to refine our group, and rather than strive for quantity of numbers we are instead going to be more concerned with quality and musicianship. In short, we intend to become a very fine adult vocal music group which can become a desirable asset to our city and the surrounding area". The reorganization included the direction being assumed by Miss Phyllis McAdams.

1988 started a new adventure with the addition of a partnership between the Burlington School System and Bel Canto Chorale with the first Festival of Lessons and Carols during the Advent season. The Shoquoquon Children's Choir under the direction of Roger and Deborah Hatteberg and the Southeast Iowa Brass Quintet joined the Bel Canto Chorale in this Festival. In 2017, the Children's Choir baton was passed to other local gifted directors.

Roger Hatteberg took over as Director of the Bel Canto Chorale in 1983. After working tirelessly to uphold the vision of the original organizer, he retired at the completion of the 2009-2010 season. During that 27 year period, there was but one season that required a substitute director, and it was filled by Dr. Timothy Ahern. Following Roger's retirement, Dane Barner served as director for the 2010-2011 season. Dr. Timothy Ahern returned as director starting with the Fall 2011 season. The Fall of 2017 introduced our newest director, Jacob Yochum.

Two members of the chorale require special mention: soprano Gloria DeVilbiss and tenor Terry Strother. Both of these outstanding singers participated from the chorale's inaugural performance in 1969 through spring 2010, both in solo and ensemble.

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