Under the direction of Artistic Director Eric R. Riley since 2012, The Wheatland Chorale is widely regarded as one of the premiere choral ensembles in Pennsylvania. The singers, all volunteers, are selected through audition, and travel from throughout Lancaster and Berks counties and beyond for rehearsals in Lancaster. The Chorale is named after the Wheatland Hills neighborhood where Founding Director Robert J. Upton lived in Lancaster at the time the group was formed.
The popularity of the Wheatland Chorale has grown steadily. The regular season includes a two concert subscription series, performed in three different locations in December and April. The Chorale has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for artistic excellence with annual grants to support the choir’s mission – “to promote and perpetuate choral music through excellence in performance.” The ensemble now numbers 46 singers and has performed throughout Central Pennsylvania, as well as at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the National Cathedral and the White House in Washington, D.C., and on tours in Austria, Germany, and England. The choir has also performed several times with the “Celebrate Bach!” orchestra of the Mt. Gretna Music Festival and with the Harrisburg Symphony. The Wheatland Chorale has been heard on WITF-FM public radio and was featured on the premiere season of “The First Art”, a public radio program featuring American choral groups.
The choir’s repertoire is very broad, and features selections from all periods. The group has also commissioned several works. The first commission, “Child of Our Time”, renamed “The Stolen Child”, by composer Scott Robinson, premiered in 1992. A recording of that performance was broadcast twice on “The First Art”.
The Wheatland Chorale is directed by Artistic Director Eric R. Riley, who also serves as Artist in Residence at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, York.