Austin Civic Chorus, Incorporated Records
An Inventory to the Collection
The Austin Civic Chorus (ACC) was founded in the spring of 1965 under the direction of Robert Kies. When Kies moved shortly thereafter, Gene Galbraith took over direction of the group, and the thirty-two member chorus presented its first concert in December 1965 at the Hancock Shopping Center.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) took up sponsorship of ACC as a recreational activity in 1966. In 1977, ACC separated from PARD and joined the City Arts Commission when the Austin City Council voted to fund all local arts groups through the Arts Commission. ACC also incorporated as a non-profit organization in October 1977.
ACC’s mission is to perform classics of choral literature in order to increase cultural awareness, to provide educational music programs and scholarship opportunities to Austin-area youth, to offer musical experiences to disadvantaged citizens and “to provide performance/employment opportunities to local professional and semi-professional musical artists – both singers and instrumentalists.” In order to fulfill its mission, ACC presents three or four annual concerts and a free summer music program for children; sings at various city functions, such as holiday celebrations and openings of public buildings; volunteers for fundraising events that benefit the emotionally or physically disadvantaged; and presents an annual Christmas-season program that travels to local nursing and retirement homes, shelters, and hospitals. ACC has performed Handel’s Messiah nearly every year since 1968. In 1989, the Messiah was converted into an annual audience sing-along event. ACC has also given concert tours in Vienna (1975) and at the Venice International Choral Festival (1981).
Although ACC’s Board of Directors (called the “Executive Committee” or “Executive Board” until 1979) is responsible for the hiring of musical directors, it is usually the latter who are most commonly identified as “leaders” of ACC. Galbraith served as musical director from 1965-86; upon his resignation, he was succeeded by three directors in only six years: Barry Williamson (Spring 1987; Fall 1988-Spring 1991), Linda Bolding (Fall 1987-Summer 1988), and Fiora Contino (Summer 1991-Spring 1992). Guest directors have included Jennifer Arndt (Summers 1990, 1992) and Sung Kwak (Winters 1983, 1985). David Stevens assumed musical directorship of ACC in Fall 1992 and led the ACC until 2000 when he resigned because of financial struggles within the organization. In early 2001 Dr. Kenneth Sheppard was appointed as the new Artistic Director of Chorus Austin (the new umbrella organization for Austin Civic Chorus and Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble). Upon Sheppard's retirement in 2008, Chorus Austin hired Ryan Heller as the new Artistic Director.
Minutes, reports, correspondence, financial documentation, legal and legal style documentation, printed material, scrapbooks, photographic material, audio recordings, machine-readable records, and maps, 1965-1999 (4 linear feet), document the creative and administrative works of the Austin Civic Chorus, Incorporated. The focus of the group is twofold – concert preparation and response as well as finances and resource development records are contained in the collection. There is also an emphasis on community response, mostly in the form of correspondence to the director (primarily Gene Galbraith).
Series consist of Administrative (1968-1996), Finances and Resource Development (1971-1991, undated), Members (1973-1995), Publicity (1967-1995), and Production (1965-1999). Whenever possible, ACC labels and order are maintained, especially in the case of chronological ordering of certain series and subseries. Within each pre-established chronological ordering (found in board minutes, financial documentation, and resource development), materials are arranged by subject or type.
The Administrative Series (1968-1996) contains records relating to the founding of the Chorus such as bylaws and Articles of Incorporation; Board of Directors meeting minutes, agendas and reports; correspondence of the Board of Directors and the Music Director; legal documentation including contracts; and Help for the Historian (Archives Committee) notes. Board meeting documentation is ordered by minutes, agendas, and reports (when present) from the treasury/finance, children’s show, advertising/publicity, resource development, historian/archive, library, educational activities/long range planning, membership, production, executive, executive director, and administrative director committees.
The Finances and Resource Development series (1971-1991, undated) highlights information relating to the Austin Civic Chorus' budget planning, funding guidelines, and marketing and fund raising efforts. Financial documentation is ordered by income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, budgets, box office information tax forms and payroll information, bank statements, invoices and receipts, and assorted reports. Resource development is ordered by correspondence, applications for grants from the City of Austin, and printed material documenting fundraising events.
The Members series (1973-1995, undated) contains records related to membership communication, training, and socializing. It is ordered by rosters, handbooks, surveys, newsletters, social events, and photographs.
The Publicity series (1967-1995, undated) documents the Austin Civic Chorus' marketing efforts. The series included advertising and press releases, flyers, complimentary tickets, scrapbooks (both loose and bound materials), posters, and artwork.
The Production series (1965-1999, undated) contains documents generated during the planning and execution of Austin Civic Center performances. The series includes concert histories; production overviews; site negotiations; documents related to performers, staging arrangements, costuming, rehearsals, ticket sales, foreign tours, and non-Austin choruses; programs; concert recordings; chorus performance evaluations; awards; clippings; and photographs. Audio-visual materials within the collection include an audio cassette and reel-to-reel recording.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Austin Civic Chorus, Incorporated Records (AR.1996.007). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1985/013
Donation Date: 1996
Collection originally processed by Ramona Azbill, Andrea Bell, Deanna Brouillette and Donna Woods. Finding aid updated and encoded by Rebecca Herscowitz in 2012. Additional materials added by Roger Simon in 2013.
Detailed Description of the Collection