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LP recorded by the Coral Carlos Gomes under the conduction of Flávio Garcia.

Photo courtesy of Brazilian White Center - UNASP.

Carlos Gomes Choir

By Jetro Meira de Oliveira

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Jetro Meira de Oliveira

First Published: January 29, 2020

Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir] is one of the oldest Seventh-day Adventist Church choirs in Brazil. The choir is widely recognized in Brazil. Its headquarters is located at Brazil Adventist University (UNASP), São Paulo campus. It is a choir of mixed adult voices whose repertoire includes religious and classical songs, with an emphasis on the sacred.

Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir] received, in 1941, the name of the composer Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836–1896), born in Campinas, SP, in order to honor him, at the suggestion of Jorge Pereira Lobo. However, its formation is linked to the very beginning of Brazil Adventist University (UNASP), São Paulo campus, in 1915, when the institution was known simply as Seminário Adventista [Adventist Seminary].

Context

The appreciation of music in the context of Adventist education is famous. Thus, a choir's formation shortly after the establishment of the Seminário Adventista [Adventist Seminary] in São Paulo was natural. In addition to the concern for students to develop a taste for this form of praise, there was also the interest to provide them with an enriching and multiplying experience with this aspect of music.

According to an early account, the first choir conductor who performed at the then Seminário Adventista [Adventist Seminary] was Paul Henning, an Adventist missionary from Germany.1 In these early days of history, the choir was simply known as Coro do Seminário [Seminary Choir].

The first publication of the Seminário Adventista [Adventist Seminary] dates back to 1916 and features, in the section entitled “Music and Singing,” information on the importance of studying singing to cultivate high morals and to educate rude and uneducated natures for the “magical” ennoblement of music. This text also contains the information that students who already had some preparation in the area of music and singing could be admitted in the “choir of singers,”2 which suggests that from the beginning, there was some sort of selection to participate in the choir.

The first recorded out-of-school performance took place on December 29, 1918, during the dedication ceremony of the new Brazilian Union Conference, located in the city of São Bernardo, São Paulo. As reported: “The seminary choir, effectively led by Brother Professor Paul Hennig, performed some appropriate and inspiring hymns.”3

In 1920 American student Alma Meyer began conducting the choir, which was denominated Coro Miriam. Alma was a student in the first class of the seminary and graduated in 1922. She married a classmate in 1923 and became Alma Meyer Bergold. Alma conducted the choir until 1934, and on special occasions more singers were added to form a larger choir, as it happened in the cantatas: Davi, O Jovem Pastor [David, The Young Shepherd] (1923) and Ester, a Bela Rainha [Esther, The Beautiful Queen] (1925)4.

Between 1935 and 1938 American teacher Catharina Downs, wife of L. E. Downs, conducted Coro Miriam, which performed mainly in liturgical functions. 5

In 1939 a new music teacher and conductor arrived at the school. His name was Walter Rollo Wheeler. Under his direction the choir developed presenting erudite sacred works and making its first excursion to Rio de Janeiro in 1940. For a brief period the choir was called Orfeão Paulistano.6

Foundation

In 1941 the choir received its current and best-known name, Coral Carlos Gomes. From this stage it gained projection beyond the ecclesiastical milieu. In 1944 it performed at the newly opened Hotel Quitandinha (Petrópolis-RJ) in honor of the presidents of Brazil and Uruguay, some songs were recordered on PRD-5 Radio Petrópolis and sung in the program Universidade em Ar [University on Air] of Nacional Radio in the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was performed in the auditoriums of the National School of Music, University of Brazil, Radio Clube do Brasil [Radio Club of Brazil], and the Academia Brasileira de Imprensa [Brazilian Academy of Press] in Rio de Janeiro. It also recorded the independence anthem at the studios of the Rádio do Ministério da Educação [Radio Ministry of Education] (PDR-2).7

Story

In 1958 Flávio Araújo Garcia assumed the direction of Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir], remaining in the position until 1974. This was a period characterized by the presentation of several extensive works, such as A Ceremony of Carols, by Benjamin Britten; The Crucifixion, by John Stainer; The Holy City, by Alfred Gaul; Missa da Coroação [Coronation Mass], by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn; The Creation, by Franz Joseph Haydn; Olivet to Calvary, by John Maunder. Many of these works were Portuguese versions arranged by Dario Pires de Araújo. This was also a period marked by numerous partnerships with professional orchestras, including the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), under the leadership of Conductor Eleazar de Carvalho. In 1964 Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir] participated in the concert assembly of the opera by Benjamin Britten entitled Noye's Fludde, with a Portuguese version called Arca de Noé [Noah's Ark]. This was the first run of this opera in São Paulo, under the direction of conductor Mario Ferraro.8

From 1979 Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir] began to be directed by Turíbio José de Burgo. One of the most memorable points of this phase was the recording of the long play Com Som de Trombetas [With Trumpets Sound] in 1982. The song title was given by John W. Peterson and has become well known to merge with the very identity of the choir. Singers who participated in this period of the choir reminisce with enthusiasm of the many trips and performances in several states of Brazil, as well as in other countries like Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.9 The presentations were performed for the church's own audience as well as for the external audience covering the various segments of society.

On the occasion of the sixtieth Assembly of the Seventh-day Adventist Church General Conference in San Antonio, Texas (U.S.A.), more than 300 singers and alumni singers of the Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir] were gathered to sing the song Com Som de Trombetas [With Trumpets Sound]. This presentation had the special participation of the Symphony Orchestra of the University of Montemorelos. Marcelo Martins, then director of the Coral Carlos Gomes [Carlos Gomes Choir], was the conductor.10

Perspective

Coral Carlos Gomes’ [Carlos Gomes Choir's] journey was marked by a persevering testimony about the Adventist Christian faith, inside and outside the church. Through its various formations, repertoires, regencies and directions, the Lord led it through a rich journey of testimonies about God and His Word, which was and continues to be announced in the various segments of Brazilian society. The perspective of the choir for the future is to keep witnessing the gospel through singing and raising their voices like trumpets to announce that "Jesus is coming in the clouds of heaven."

Conductors

Paul Hennig (1915–1919); Alma Meyer Bergold (1920–1934); Catharina Downs (1935–1938); Walter R. Wheeler (1939–1941); Walter R. Wheeler (1941–1944); Frederico Gerling, Jr. (1945–1945); Walter R. Wheeler (1946–1949); Flávio Araújo Garcia (1949–1950); Gérson Maia de Mattos (1950–1950); Flávio Araújo Garcia (1951–1955); Dean Friedrich (1956–1957); Flávio Araújo Garcia (1958–1974); Raimundo Martins (1975–1976); Williams Costa, Jr. (1977–1978); Turíbio José de Burgo (1979–1999); Ronnye Dias (1999–2003); Turíbio José de Burgo (2003–2012); Richard Kogima (2013–09/2013); Ronnye Dias (09/2013–12/2013); Marcelo Martins (2014–2015); Turíbio José de Burgo (2016– )

Discography

Nascimento de um Rei [A King is Born] (1944); Coral Carlos Gomes—Hinos favoritos de seu repertório [Carlos Gomes Choir—Its Favorite Repertoire Hymns] (1960); Hinos Favoritos [Favorite Hymns] (1961); Encarte da Colina50o. Aniversário do Instituto Adventista de Ensino [Hill Insert—Brazil Adventist University 50th Anniversary] (1965); Hinos Religiosos [Religious Hymns] (1969); Hinos Pátrios [Country Anthems] (1972); Corais do IAE no 65º ano (participação) [Brazil Adventist University's Choirs in the 65th year (participation)] (1980); Com o Som de Trombetas [With Trumpets Sound] (1982); A música no IAE (participação) [Music in Brazil Adventist University (participation)] (1990); Glória e Majestade [Glory and Magesty] (1998); Nossa Gente, Nossa Música (participação especial) [Our People, Our Music (special participation)] (2000); Nosso Louvor—DVD [Our Praise—DVD] (2006); Que amor é esse—DVD [What Kind of Love This Is—DVD] (2006); Notas de Alegria—Grupos ACARTE (participação) [Notes of Joy—ACARTE groups (participation)] (2007); Sonhos e Ideais95 Anos UNASP-SP–DVD (participação) [Dreams and Ideals–95 years UNASP-SP–DVD (participation)] (2010); Muito Além–100 anos UNASP-SP–CD e DVD (participação) [Well Beyond–100 years UNASP-SP–CD e DVD (participation)] (2015).

Awards

Second place in the I Choir Contest in the State of São Paulo (1964); first place in the II Choir Contest in the State of São Paulo (1966); first place in the National Choir Festival in Rio Grande do Sul (1970); fourth place in the Pan-American Choir Contest (1970); first place in a Country Anthems Contest promoted by the State of São Paulo (1972); first place in the National Choral Singing Contest, São Paulo-SP (1996).

Sources

Casoy, Sergio. Ópera em São Paulo: 1952–2005 [Opera in São Paulo: 1952–2005]. São Paulo, SP: EdUSP, 2007.

“Collegio Missionario da Conferencia União Brazileira dos Adventistas do Setimo Dia” [Missionary Academy of the Brazilian Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists]. 1916.

Lüdke, Germano. “Escola de Missão em Santo Amaro” [Santo Amaro Mission School]. Revista Mensal [Monthly Review], October 1915.

Rohde, Max. “Várias Notícias” [Various News]. Monthly Review, February 1919.

Simon, Loide, and Elder Horosakwa. From the Seminary Choir to the Carlos Gomes Choir: A Trajectory of Praise and Virtuosity in UNASP I (1915–2005). Unpublished material. No date.

Siqueira, F. N. “O Coral Carlos Gomes e sua Grande Obra” [Carlos Gomes Choir and Its Great Works]. Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], November 1944.

Notes

  1. Germano Lüdke, “School of Mission in Santo Amaro,” Monthly Review, October 1915, 5, 6.

  2. “Missionary College of the Conference Brazilian Union of Seventh Day Adventists” (1916): 14.

  3. Max Rohde, “Várias Noticias,” Monthly Review, February 1919, 10.

  4. Loide Simon and Elder Horosakwa, From the Seminary Choir to Carlos Gomes Choir: A Journey of Praise and Virtuosity in UNASP I (1915–2005). Unpublished material. Dateless. Brazilian White Center, UNASP archives.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. F. N. Siqueira, “O Coral Carlos Gomes e sua Grande Obra” [Carlos Gomes Choir and Its Great Work], Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], November 1944, 24.

  8. Sergio Casoy, Ópera em São Paulo: 1952-2005 [Opera in São Paulo: 1952-2005] (São Paulo, SP: EdUSP, 2007): 117, 118.

  9. Ellen Stencel, interview by the author, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, March 3, 2018.

  10. Marcelo Martins interviewed by the author, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, March 2, 2018.

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Oliveira, Jetro Meira de. "Carlos Gomes Choir." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI3Y.

Oliveira, Jetro Meira de. "Carlos Gomes Choir." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI3Y.

Oliveira, Jetro Meira de (2020, January 29). Carlos Gomes Choir. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI3Y.