Shambrey Chorale History
Scope and Content
Title: Shambrey Chorale
Collection Number: Consult repository
[3 linear feet]
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Archives and Special Collections
Archives & Special Collection
University Library, Room 5039
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, California 90747
Phone: (310) 243-3013
This collection includes sheet music, performance notes, performance programs, chorale rosters, photos, a book, journal articles,
correspondence documents, and multimedia related to the Shambrey Chorale. Choral works include early traditional sacred church
music and hymns from 16th century styles to contemporary styles, compositions from canonical European composers, traditional
negro spirituals, gospel, jazz, musical theater, U.S Patriotic, American Folk Songs, Christmas themes, and Ethnomusicological
Language: Collection material is in English
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives
and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical
materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Title of item], SHAMBREY CHORALE, Courtesy of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California
State University, Dominguez Hills
The records in this collection were donated to the Sacred Music Archive and CSUDH, Archives and Special Collections.
Processed and encoded from September 2010 through October 2010 by Christeta Nini.
Shambrey Chorale History
The Shambrey Chorale was conceived and implemented in Summer of 1972 with their first
formal rehearsal in October 1972. Their first public performance was February 25, 1973 at
the Temple Israel of Hollywood, California. After rave responses to their debut performance
at Temple Israel, choral group members met on March 17th to formally organize. The Chorale
was named after its Founder-Director, Celestine (Celeste) Shambrey. Vennie F. Johnson
accepted her nominated role as the chorale's organ accompanist. Basso-baritone soloist,
Rudy Williams, was selected as first president. Their regular rehearsal base was Plymouth
Congregational Church (on 6th Avenue and West 54th Street), with major credits to Vennie F.
Johnson, a member of Plymouth Church, for officiating the process.
As a non-profit organization, chorale members and leaders were non-paid, voluntary positions.
Chorale funding came from chorale participant regular contributions. Through time, special
contributions in the form of finances or advising came from major sponsors such as Milton F.
Williams, Dr. Milton H. Davis, and C. Dave Hardgrave. First president, Rudy Williams, provided
awards and citations to chorale participants who demonstrated exceptional service or sacrifice for the fulfillment of the
chorale's goals and purposes.
The first officers were Rudy Williams, President; Barbara Moore, Vice President; Peggy Speese,
Corresponding Secretary; Zulah Lee, Treasurer; Earldon Scales, Assistant Treasurer; Vennie
Johnson, Librarian; Verlena Davenport, Assistant Librarian; Vermya Phillips, Chaplain; Don
Villarel, Publicity; Viola Avery, Social Chairman; and Carrier Speed, Assistant Social Chairman.
Their major purposes are: 1) to provide varied styles of well prepared music for area
audiences -- and especially for those who might not otherwise enjoy such privileges, 2) to
demonstrate the possibilities and creative advantages of intergroup sharings, regardless of
religious, educational, social or ethnic backgrounds, 3) to present constant challenges to
participants (leadership included) for persistent application and improvement of their natural
talents, and 4) to offer rescue for emergencies confronted by serious, gifted but disadvantaged
students. As part of fulfilling their major purpose, ca. 1973-1974, ten students in a variety
of fields such as medicine, music, and police and social service have been given financial
provisions for registration, books, graduation fees, and more.
Their early performance history: 1) Handel's oratorio, JUDAS MACCABAEUS, on February 25, 1973
at Temple Israel of Hollywood, Calif.; 2) Hall Johnson music on May 20, 1973 at Oneonta
Congregational Church, South Pasadena, Calif.; 3) R. Nathaniel Dett's oratorio, THE ORDERING OF
MOSES on November 4, 1973 at Zion Hill Baptist Church, 78th and 10th Avenue, near Inglewood,
Calif.; 4) Traditional and Contemporary music on February 24, 1974 at Church of Chimes
(Congregational) United Church of Christ, Van Nuys, Calif.; 5) Beethoven's oratorio,
MOUNT OF OLIVES, on April 7, 1974 (Palm Sunday) at First United Methodist Church, Inglewood,
Calif.; and 6) Traditional and Contemporary music on May 26, 1974 at Faith Presbyterian Church,
Century Boulevard near Western (Calif.).
Scope and Content
The Shambrey Chorale Collection includes sheet music, performance notes, performance programs,
chorale rosters, photos, a book, journal articles, correspondence documents, and multimedia
related to the Shambrey Chorale. Choral works include early traditional sacred church music
and hymns from 16th century styles to contemporary styles, compositions from canonical
European composers, traditional negro spirituals, gospel, jazz, musical theater, U.S
Patriotic, American Folk Songs, Christmas themes, and Ethnomusicological styles with print
dates ca.1890-1995. Some sheet music also include the conductor's handwritten markups in
regards to performance cues. Some sheet music include non-choral works. The performance
programs include performances by the Shambrey Chorale and concerts by other choirs. The
photos are one-of-a kind, two of which photograph a performance poster of the Shambrey Chorale
and their March 23, 1975 performance. The single book in this collection is a poetry book by
Langston Hughes. The journal articles are multiple copies of a single article describing the
lack of black Americans and involvement in philharmonic or symphony orchestras. The
correspondence documents are from John Mayes, Jr., Shambrey Chorale president during 1991.
Other documents pertain to Thelma Hicks, active chorale member; Dr. Jester Hairston, composer
of many choral works in their collection; and papers about vocal exercises, orchestra seating,
jazz mentorship programs, chorale rosters, and chorale history. Multimedia consists of an
audiocassette tape and 2 DVDs. The collection has been organized into two series.
Arranged in 2 series:
- Series I. Papers, photos, and multimedia (1972-2005)
- Series II. Sheet music (1890-1995)
African American Musicians.
African American Singers.