Our History

Headshot of a Dr. Frederick Prentice
Dr. Frederick B. Prentice

Prentice Concert Chorale is an auditioned choir of professional and amateur singers joining to perform major works of choral literature, original compositions by local composers (including commissions), and classic choral music of all genres. Prentice Concert Chorale is actively engaged in the local Tuscaloosa and West Alabama communities. This season alone Prentice Chorale performed at: Merrill Gardens Assisted Living, Capstone Village, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center in Tuscaloosa and also presented free concerts in Greensboro and Brent, AL. Prentice Chorale is strongly committed to musical partnerships as demonstrated by this season’s joint concerts with the Shelton Singers and Tuscaloosa County High School choirs and with Shelton State’s Jazz Combo.

In the choir’s forty-three year history it has performed with the Huxford Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, Montgomery Symphony, and Alabama Symphony Orchestras. Guest artists who have performed with the choir include: Dave Brubeck, Jerome Hines, Sherrill Milnes, and William Warfield. Under the leadership of current director, Dr. Leslie Poss, Prentice Chorale has performed: Durufle’s Requiem; Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; Handel’s Messiah (complete oratorio); and Bach’s B minor Mass. In 2011 PCC members were part of a multi-generational choir Dr. Poss prepared for the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s Dream, Child. Hope performed with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra for Tuscaloosa’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Realizing the Dream celebration.

Prentice Concert Chorale, formerly known as Tuscaloosa Community Singers, is a multi-racial chorus dedicated to singing major choral literature under professional direction. We were founded in 1970 by Dr. Fred Prentice of the University of Alabama, Dr. Robert Herrema of Stillman College, Doris Leapard a local merchant, and Ila Glynn an accomplished piano teacher. Our first appearance was during Holy Week at Christ Episcopal Church. We sang our first full program in the City National Bank with Dr. Herrema directing.

Our second season included Fred Prentice and James Williams (Stillman choral director) along with Bob Herrema sharing the director’s duties. A piece commissioned of Paul Hedwall was performed at Brewer State Community College. Our third season included a composition written for the Singers by Fred Goosen. It was also our first time to sing with full orchestra—as the chorus for Brahm’s A German Requiem with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. This association continued for a number of years.

In those days we performed in various locations until the concert hall in Moody Music Building was built. Rehearsals were held wherever we could find facilities. We joined in early performance of Hilaritas which was initiated by Fred Prentice and Steve Sample. Dr. Prentice became and remained our director; and his wife, Sigrid Prentice, directed several seasons. The University Orchestra collaborated with the Singers on numerous occasions. In 1982 we began our association the newly formed Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Sandra Willetts took over choral activities at the University of Alabama in 1989 and became our director. She was succeeded at both the University and the Singers by Dr. Greg Gentry. Our current director is Dr. Leslie Poss.