The Southern California Mormon Choir began life as the Southern California Oratorio Society under its founding music director, Frederick Davis. In 1951 Davis was asked to organize a 300 voice LDS choir to perform in the Hollywood Bowl.
From that first success came an invitation to sing for the Bowl Easter Sunrise Service in 1952. In September 1953 the Southern California Mormon Choir was officially organized. Since its organization, the choir has performed nationally (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii) and internationally (Israel, Mexico City, England, Wales, Australia, and New Zealand). The choir has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, California Philharmonic; The Glendale, Pacific, and Utah symphonies; and has been joined by the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra. In December of 1997 the choir collaborated with the Boston Pops Orchestra during a holiday tour of the western United States.
The Southern California Mormon Choir has been featured in televised appearance on the Dinah Shore and Steve Allen Shows, the Hollywood Squares, and has sung on local television stations in Los Angeles and Utah. Over the years the singers have been seen world-wide in Hollywood Bowl Easter services, and have been heard on radio from the Los Angeles Music Center on KUSC 91.5FM and from its home base in Arcadia California on KPPC AM. The choir has appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for its weekly radio and television broadcast from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The choir has recorded a collection of American folk and patriotic music entitled We Sing America, and a Christmas collection entitled Songs of Christmas. The choir is a founding member of the Los Angeles Music Center where it has performed Handel's Messiah for many years. The 2013 performance of Messiah will be March 10th at the Alex Theater with the Glendale Youth Ochestra in Glendale, California.
The repertoire of the choir has included well over 2000 pieces including Sacred, folk, patriotic, Broadway, and ethnic numbers. In addition, the choir has presented many major works in the choral/orchestra repertoire. Among these have been Beethoven's 9th, and Choral Fantasy, Requiems by Verdi, Brahms, Britten, and Durufle; Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and the Ceremony of Carols also by Britten. As founding members of the LA Music Center, the choir has presented a traditional holiday "Messiah" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion regularly.
In December 2000, the choir joined with Lex de Azevedo's Millenium Choir in the West Coast Premiere of Gloria: The Life of Christ at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Part II of this wonderful world, titled Hosanna, was performed by the choir at the Crystal Cathedral in May 2001.
Harold Frederick Davis
In the summer of 2002, the choir traveled to Lincoln, England, to participate in a Choir Festival with renowned conductors Craig Jessop (director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and Stephan Cleobury (director of the King's College Choir in Cambridge).
In the summer of 2007, the choir traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland, to participate in the Lucerne Music Festival and then toured Austria and Germany, performing in venues along the way including Salzburg and Munich.
The choir was featured on the Hanna-Barbera Children's Bible series and has recorded popular albums entitled 'We Sing America', 'Songs of Christmas', 'Sing Navidad', and 'I Feel My Savior's Love'. The choir has recorded for Capital, Donkin, and Embryo records.
The Southern California Mormon Choir is a member of Chorus America, and is under contract with Columbia Artists Management to provide Community Concerts.
Music Directors for the choir have included Frederick Davis (founder), Russell Fox, Brent Pierce, H. Douglas Custance, and Frank Turner. Associate conductors have included Frank Turner and Mack Wilberg. The choir's present music director and conductor is Jan Bills.
On Memorial Day 2013 the choir traveled to Washington D.C. to perform at the Kennedy Center, once again with Dr. Craig Jessop conducting.