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The Roger Wagner Chorale

"The Roger Wagner Chorale originated as a city-sponsored group know as the Los Angeles Concert Chorale.  The demands for its services were so many that in 1947 it became a professional group.

Roger Wagner Chorale - Salli Terri, front row, 2nd from right Franz Waxman immediately engaged it for performances of Honegger's Joan of Arc.  Additional appearances in other works followed in the Los Angeles Music Festival.  Alfred Wallenstein engaged the Chorale for a program commemorating the bicentennial of Bach's death.  They sang Belshazzar's Feast under the baton of its composer, Sir William Walton at the Hollywood Bowl, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under Otto Klemperer, the Mozart Requiem, conducted by Bruno Walter, and Gustav Holst's Planets under Stokowski.

The Chorale was invited to take part in the Coronation Festivities in London, and the 24 voice group sang in London's Royal Festival Hall, Paris' Salle Gaveau, in both Amsterdam and the Hague, and also broadcast on BBC, Radio Paris, and the Dutch Radio.

Roger Wagner is a surprising combination of qualities and contrasts.  He speaks pure American, with swift and colorful fluency, but lapses the next instant into equally authentic Parisian French with all the gesticulations.  He is as American as blueberry pie, and yet really a Frenchman, having been born in Paris, the son of an organist-composer.  He has lived much of this life there studying organ, serving in the French Army in World War II, playing organ in the cathedrals of France.  Since 1945, he has been a naturalized American citizen.

He has trained choruses for Koussevitsky, Stokowski, Klemperer, Ormandy, Wallenstein, and many others.  He has studied formally with Toch, Dupre, Biggs, Herford, and Zweig, and earned his doctorate of Music at the University of Montreal."
     Salli Terri with Roger Wagner

- from the Program Notes of a 1957 performance by the Chorale

(email from Teresa Myers, Dec 00)

"Looking at the program [of the Third Annual Grammy Awards, held on April 12, 1961], I notice that Roger Wagner served on the LA Board of Governors."

(email from Teresa Myers, Dec 00)

The Roger Wagner Chorale in Europe, 1953
  A group from the Roger Wagner Chorale, on a 1953 tour of Europe

The photo comes from Marilyn Horne's autobiography - she is 2nd from the left on the back row, and Salli Terri is 6th from the right


The Roger Wagner Chorale
RWC Concert Program - University of Michigan Musical Society, 19th October 1961
Roger Wagner
Roger Wagner Wikipedia page

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top photo of the Chorale from the 1959 University of Illinois "Illio" Yearbook
photo of Salli Terri & Roger Wagner from the Cal State Salli Terri Collection
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last revised 6 May 2014