I’m sorry you had a bad listening experience with the Robert Shaw Chorale. I’ve been a serious fan of Shaw’s work starting back in the 50’s when the Chorale was regularly on tour.
In 1968 Shaw became the first full-time director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Within a few years he also established the ASO Chorus who would win Grammy awards every year for their recordings, this a group of about 180 singers. He was a task master. The chorus had and still has very high standards. Every singer auditions every year for the coming season that runs from September to May or June. No matter how long you have been in the chorus, you still auditioned every year. (Do you know any barbershop choruses that do that?)
The RS Chorale was a highly auditioned group where essentially everyone was a soloist, often with a long history as a solo performer. No matter your background you still had to demonstrate your ability as an ensemble singer. If anyone is interested, you might visit the Amazon website and type in The Robert Shaw Chorale. There are many recordings available. Check out those of the mixed voice chorale and also those recordings of just the men of the chorale. It ain’t barbershop but it will be a magnificent listening experience. Certainly the recording technology in the 50s-60s was nothing like today. But listen to those early recordings for the ensemble work of that day. Do that and redeem your ears from the experience you had at your convention. It will be well worth your time.
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