Schola Cantorum of Waynesboro was formed in 1996 to give accomplished area singers an opportunity to learn and perform great works of the master composers. Its name, derived from Medieval Latin meaning “school for singers,” is a testament to the mission of the group, which is to challenge its musicians to master and perform the great works of classical music for the enjoyment and education of the community. The auditioned fifty-voice choir has been under the direction of Maureen Drumheller since 2003
Since its inception, the group has performed many great works of music including J. S. Bach’s Magnificat, Maurice Durufle’s Requiem, Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, John Rutter’s Magnificat and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. It presented Joseph Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War and Te Deum, Giacomo Puccini’s Gloria, Franz Schubert’s Mass in G and parts of Glenn McClure’s St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass, as well as John Rutter’s Gloria.
As a part of its educational mission, Schola has joined with the Waynesboro High School Concert Choir on several occasions, presenting Come Lovely Spring from Haydn’s Seasons, Lacrymosa from Mozart’s Requiem, and Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. In 2009 the combined choirs performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana to a very enthusiastic audience. Schola presents a scholarship annually to a deserving high school senior who will be studying vocal music in college.
Schola celebrated Mozart’s 250th birthday by performing his Requiem with full orchestra and guest soloists. Also on the program were light operatic works from “Cavalleria Rusticana,” and Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.”
More recent concerts have included Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Randall Thompson’s Ode to the Virginia Voyage, and Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noel. In the Spring of 2010, Schola proudly presented the Shenandoah Valley premier of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace.
In the spring of 2012, Schola, in addition to its regular concert, performed as the featured guest with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. "Heroes" was a collection of patriotic pieces which featured Tschaikowsky's 1812 Overture, sans cannons.
Rounding out its repertoire, Schola Cantorum also performs shorter works of contemporary music, folk songs and spirituals at its concerts. Its goal is to perform all works as the composer intended, with orchestra and soloists. The choir frequently performs a cappella pieces, as well as church music and chamber music with piano or organ.
In addition to concerts in the Fall and Spring each year, the group strives to increase its performance schedule to include more ambitious works and to allow more opportunities for the community to appreciate and enjoy great classical music. Ensembles from the group are available to perform at smaller venues such as community events, hospitals, libraries, churches and retirement communities. In December of 2010, Schola began an annual community sing of Handel’s Messiah.