A Celebration of SA heARTS: San Antonio Chamber Choir Stays In Tune

By Roland Barrera

SAN ANTONIO — The closing line to the popular poem “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman goes thusly: Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

These poetic words help to support the reason why through exquisite music and innovative programming, the San Antonio Chamber Choir (SACC) elevates the spirit, enlightens the mind and nurtures the soul. The Choir was founded in 2005 and since then has provided countless concerts in various venues throughout the city, region and state.  

Without the support from the funds raised from the 2021 Celebration for the Arts (CFA) event – a unique collaboration between the Choir, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Ballet San Antonio and The Public Theater of San Antonio – our programming would not be available for the general public. 

This COVID pandemic has challenged all organization in the arts, but at least we’ve been able to count on generous supporters and donors who stepped up when it really mattered.

We have expanded programming to include the All-State for ALL Choir Camp and the Alamo City Street Choir (ACSC). The choir camp has served approximately 150 students each summer since 2016 through low-cost tuition and high-level music-making.  

Since 2019, the Alamo City Street Choir has offered a musical outlet for those experiencing homelessness and severe disadvantage. Their voices of hope and wisdom brings the community to a higher level of beauty through the art of singing. The ACSC just recently performed at the annual H-E-B Christmas Lighting in Travis Park.

The flagship ensemble of SACC is made of professional singers from throughout the area. Our SACC roster of singers also works in various capacities around the city at local schools, colleges and universities.  

Since 2014, Richard Bjella has served as artistic director of the organization. Bjella offers a wealth of expertise and knowledge from years of experience in higher education as a choral director. Bjella is respected nationally and has worked internationally with organizers of various festivals and events.

SACC is a cultural pillar in the San Antonio community and support from generous donors and organizations helps us to accomplish our mission and vision. We need art right now more than ever as our world reopens and our art helps creates true healing from the gorgeous sounds of the human voice. 

We want to particularly thank CFA sponsor San Antonio Area Foundation for allowing us this platform to share our successes and triumphs even during these difficult times. SACC is proud to be a funding recipient of the support the Area Foundation has provided to cultural arts nonprofits in this great city. 

Roland Barrera is the Executive Director of San Antonio Chamber Choir. This is the last installment in the Area Foundation’s series showcasing arts nonprofits participating in the Celebration for the Arts event. For the other stories in our series, visit the Area Foundation blog page