Choral Society marks 75th anniversay with concert

By Tammara Fogle | March 31, 2022

Rose Munoz, left, Norman Tice and Vicky Mazurek are longtime members of the Wichita Choral Society. The singers are practicing for an April 24 concert, when they will be accompanied by members of the American Guild of Organists.

When Vicky Mazurek moved to Wichita, she had two needs to fill immediately.

“The first thing you do is look for a church and some music,” said Mazurek.

Mazurek found music in the Wichita Choral Society. Nearly 50 years later, she’s still singing with the group, which will celebrate a belated 75th anniversary this month.

“I’ve personally sung under eight conductors in the choral society,” Mazurek said.

Most years, the group performs two concerts, one in the spring and one, dedicated to Handel’s “Messiah,” in the fall.

Its diamond anniversary was delayed two years by the pandemic.

This year’s spring show is at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at First United Methodist Church, 330 N. Broadway. Tickets are $10 at the door and also may be purchased from members or by calling (316)686-5002.

Led by conductor Shawn Chastain, the society will perform John Rudder’s “Gloria” and Carmine Burana’s “O Fortuna.” They will be accompanied by organists from the Wichita Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Additionally, special guest conductors Jim Jones and Dorothy Crum, who led the group in the past, will conduct favorite hymns.
The society will also perform at Sterling (Kan.) Sterling College at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1, with that school’s choir.

Mazurek, who was raised in Minnesota, fell in love with choral music during high school. After graduating from St. Olaf College, she went to work for Sears, which sent her to Wichita to help open a store in Towne East Square. Her husband, Gary, did the same job for JCPenney. Gary, who died last year, served as an usher for the society’s concerts.

The group performed at Carnegie Hall in 1976, under conductor David Sharlow. Another highlight was its 40th anniversary, when members sang at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Mazurek said many members of the society also sing in their church choir.

“I even sing with the (Wichita) Symphony Chorus but my love is the choral society,” she said. “It’s non auditioned, it’s a family.”

“We’ve had members as young as juniors in high school and as old as Methuselah,” she added with a laugh.

She’s looking forward to the anniversary concert at First United.

“They’ve got this wonderful organ. We’re going to be cranking out that pipe organ.”