Chorus Information


Bay Choral Guild

Sanford Dole, Artistic Director

Information last updated: 2010-02-03
Status: Archived

Basic Information

Description: The Bay Choral Guild, directed by Sanford Dole, is a 40-voice, auditioned chorus based in Palo Alto with singers from around the Bay Area. Founded in 1979, BCG has a solid reputation for high-quality performances and innovative programming of demanding repertoire, consistently delivering beautiful renditions of a wide range of choral music backed by a high level of musicianship. Members possess good sight-reading skills and sing in many languages.
Web Address:
Year Estab: 1979
Mission: BCG is a musical organization dedicated to sharing the joy of choral music, and to the development of both singers and audiences through professional quality performances and innovative programming of traditional and unusual works.
Emphasis: Programs include masterpieces of the choral repertoire, recently-discovered works by less familiar composers, works commissioned by BCG, and premieres of works by contemporary American and San Francisco Bay Area composers, including Sanford Dole, Bay Choral Guild Artistic Director.

Bay Choral Guild’s programming often strikes out in new and different directions. Our concerts offer both audiences and singers the opportunity to connect with and experience choral music in fresh and exciting ways, balancing enjoyment with challenge for audience and performer.
Size: 40+
Concerts/Year: Three concert weekend sets each year in Nov/Dec; March; May/June. BCG performs in Campbell (Friday), San Francisco (Saturday) and Palo Alto (Sunday).
Auditions: Yes, held at regular rehearsal sites in Palo Alto. Auditions are held by appointment, before the start of each quarter, in August/September, December/January, and occasionally in March.
Dues: $75 per quarter (3 quarters)
Dress: Men: black tuxedo, plain white shirt, black bow tie; Women: black tunic tops with long black skirts or pants.
Rehearsals: Monday, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton (at Webster), Palo Alto


Type of Music: Classical
Early Music
World Music
Type of Chorus: Mixed Adult
Rehearse City: Palo Alto
Region: Santa Clara County
Audition Req'd: Y

Chorus Contact Information

Mailing Address: Bay Choral Guild, P.O. Box 597, Los Altos, CA 94023

Other Information


CD recordings made on of each concert for archives, and for sale.   Current CD's available include The Seasons of Christmas, our first commercial recording, which is a selection of Renaissance and contemporary anthems. The other two CDs are concert recordings: the Sergei Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil, and our highly praised December 2008 concert, An Orthodox Christmas.


Visit for current chorus and concert information, as well as program notes and reviews.

Articles in Early Music News:
"BCG performs Modern Premiere of Zelenka's 'Missa Circumcissiones' (1724, Dresden),"(Audrey Wong, March 1985)
"Two Centuries of Deplorable Music" (Robert Geary and Audrey Wong, March 1989)
"BCG to present St. Matthew Passion" (Interview with Robert Geary, June 1990)
"A Shining Gift" (Audrey Wong, December 1991)
"Choir for Hire, BCG Debuts with Philharmonia" (Audrey Wong, April 1993)
"BCG di Lasso Program - from Concept to Concert" (Audrey Wong, March 1994)
"Schütz Happens" (Audrey Wong and Warren Stewart, June 1995)

Reviews (1991-1998)
Tuesday, March 12, 1991, Peninsula Times Tribune (Kevin Bazzana, p. C-2)
Monday, December 9, 1991, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, p. 3C)
Wednesday, December 11, 1991, Peninsula Times Tribune (Janice Riese, p. D-2)
Sunday, March 29, 1992, Peninsula Times Tribune (Nancy Bloomer Deussen, p. C-6)
Wednesday, June 10, 1992, Peninsula Times Tribune (Janice Riese, p. C-2)
Tuesday, April 27, 1993, San Francisco Chronicle (Joshua Kosman)
Thursday, June 10, 1993, Hills Publications (Rocky Leplin, p. 13)
Monday, December 6, 1993, San Francisco Examiner (Allan Ulrich, p. C-1)
Tuesday, December 7, 1993, San Francisco Chronicle (Marilyn Tucker, p. E3)
Friday, December 10, 1993, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, p. Eye p. 28)
Friday, December 17, 1993, Express (Sarah Cahill, p. 36)
Monday, March 14, 1994, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, p. 3C)
Sunday, May 22, 1994, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, Arts p. 8)
Monday, December 5, 1994, San Francisco Examiner (Allan Ulrich, p. C-1)
Tuesday, December 6, 1994, San Francisco Chronicle (Joshua Kosman, p. E1)
Monday, December 12, 1994, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, p. 3C)
Monday, March 20, 1995, San Jose Mercury News (Paul Hertelendy, p. 3C)
Friday, June 5, 1998. Express (Sarah Cahill, p. 20)


From the Guild's website: "Some History: The Guild was originally founded in 1979 as the Baroque Choral Guild, under the leadership of Ken Hannaford, and soon thereafter, Robert Geary. In 1994, the Cantabile Youth Singers was founded, and BCG became an umbrella for both an adult chorus and a youth chorus. In 2005, finding the “Baroque” in our name to be insufficiently suggestive of the diversity of our programming, the organization decided to drop it, and took on the Cantabile name for the whole organization, with the adult chorus becoming “Cantabile Chorale”. In 2008, the adult and youth choruses parted ways, and the adult chorus took on its present name, “Bay Choral Guild”, a name we hope is evocative of our roots."

Editors' historical note: Baroque Choral Guild was founded by a group of singers who had formerly sung with Edwin (Ted) Flath's California Bach Society, founded about 1973. Disagreements about Flath's leadership led to a split, and a breakaway group founded Baroque Choral Guild, whose first conductor was Ken Hannaford. From its founding until 2006, the chorus rehearsed in both Berkeley and Palo Alto, and its membership included sizable groups from both locations. In 2006, the then Cantabile Chorale discontinued its Berkeley rehearsals, and a group of its singers from the Berkeley area who did not want to travel to Palo Alto regularly sought to form a new chorus in Berkeley. Under the leadership of Paul Flight, a new chorus, Chora Nova, was formed, and its membership included many of the former Cantabile singers.

Comments: Experienced singers welcome!