Dale Patterson was recruited for Choral Guild of Atlanta while shopping. She was browsing in a Buckhead silver shop about five years ago when she heard a tune she liked in the store’s background music and she started to sing along.

Sheila Pater, a member of the guild, worked in the shop. She heard Patterson singing to herself and took notice.

“I said, “You have such a beautiful voice. You should come sing with the Choral Guild,’” Pater remembered.
It worked. Soon Patterson joined fellow soprano Pater as a singer with the guild, an amateur ensemble that performs classical and contemporary choral works, and is now in its 77th season.

Patterson said the guild was started in 1939 by the Atlanta Music Club as the Music Club Chorus, and is one of the oldest metro Atlanta groups still performing. “It started, I believe, as a community singing group,” she said.

The group was renamed the Choral Guild of Atlanta in 1947, according to the guild’s webpage. In the 1960s, the group sang with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the chorus has traveled to Australia and Europe to perform. In 1980, the guild played Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Current guild members come “from every walk of life,” Pater explained, and from across metro Atlanta. Pater lives in Sandy Springs. Patterson lives in Buckhead. “There are really no professional musicians per se,” Pater said, “just people who love to sing. There’s lots of what I would call ‘church-choir-type singers’ who enjoy singing.”

Patterson says she’s been singing throughout her life. “I think there’s an inexplicable, unattainable thing that kind of speaks to your soul,” she said. “There’s something about music, and singing in particular, that connects to my soul.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.