Stockton Chorale

Stockton Chorale

Founded by Arthur J. Holton in 1952, the Stockton Chorale has been an integral part of the Central Valley’s musical life for over sixty years.  The largest choral group between Sacramento and Fresno, the Chorale performs regularly with the Stockton Symphony as well as presenting its own subscription series featuring a wide range of choral music styles.  After Dr. Holton’s retirement, the Chorale’s rich history of noteworthy performances and overseas tours continued under Mark Clark, Joe Miller, Edward Cetto, and Magen Solomon. Dr. Bruce Southard was named artistic director and conductor in 2015.

Recently celebrating its 65 anniversary with a gala concert that included world premieres of two newly commissioned works, the Chorale has returned to Delta College as a zero-unit class with no fee to participate.  In doing so, the Chorale has renewed its focus on high-quality music-making and community involvement.  Singers aged 9 to 90 of any experience level can find a home in one of the organization’s adult or youth choruses.

Bruce Southard, Stockton Chorale Artistic Director

Dr. Bruce Southard is currently the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at San Joaquin Delta College and has more than thirty years of experience working with choirs of all ages in California, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

Teaching is Dr. Southard’s passion, and he was named the Outstanding Teacher of the Year in the College of Arts and Sciences at Dickinson State University in 2013. As a conductor, his choirs have appeared at state and regional conventions in the North Central region of the United States. He has served as guest conductor for several regional honor choirs in Montana and North Dakota, in addition to his active adjudication and clinic schedule. His applied voice students have been recognized at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions district level and in 2012 one of his students was a national finalist in the MTNA Young Artist Competition.

Dr. Southard studied conducting with William Dehning, Kenneth Davis, Michael Weber and JoAnn Miller. He has also worked directly with Howard Swan, Eph Ehly, Bernard Rubenstein, and Alfred Mann. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of the Pacific, his Master of Music degree from Western Kentucky University and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from North Dakota State University. 


The Stockton Youth Chorale is open to young singers who are in third through eighth grade.  Students learn vocal production, how to read music, and performance etiquette, and have fun in the process.  Children from throughout San Joaquin County participate in the Youth Chorale, and it is open to all children by a simple audition. A scholarship program is available.

Joan Calonico, Stockton Youth Chorale Director

Making music with children is Joan Calonico’s favorite thing to do. As the Stockton Youth Chorale conductor since 2002, she has energized the singers by creating two ensembles, the Treblemakers for elementary age students and the Concert Choir for middle grades. Experienced singers enjoy the challenge of more complex music, which gives them a reason to continue singing and learning. “Giving children a strong foundation” she says, “increases the likelihood that they’ll sing for a lifetime.”

Joan Calonico graduated from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music education. Since then she has been a general music and choral specialist with the Lincoln Unified School District and served the district as a mentor teacher and music teacher specialist. She is currently principal of Don Riggio School, where visual and performing arts are an integral part of every student’s education.

Active in many music organization, Ms. Calonico sings with the Stockton Master Chorale and the opera chorus for the Stockton Opera Association, and she has served as a representative to the California Music Educators Association. She has also been a guest lecturer in music education at the University of the Pacific and a clinician and panelist for the American Choral Directors Association and California Music Educators Association. She has conducted middle school honor choirs throughout the region.