Madison, IN: Madison Consolidated High School Fine Arts Academy to host the 81st annual Ohio
Valley Choral Festival.
On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Madison will host the 81st annual Ohio Valley Choral Festival in the
Connor K. Salm Gymnasium beginning at 7 p.m.
Founded in 1937, by Mr. Bill Rothert of Madison, IN, the Ohio Valley Choral
Festival is the oldest festival of its kind in Indiana. According to historical
archives, Mr. Rothert described the festival “as a way to promote friendly
cooperation in the advancement of music among southeastern Indiana
schools”. Deeply rooted in this region, the founding committee members also
included Ellen Beebee of Lawrenceburg, Paul Rigsby of Rising Sun, Martha
Banister of Vevay, Clare B. Ulen of Scottsburg, Frances Cory of Jeffersonville,
and Bertram C. Heckel of New Albany.
History of the Ohio Valley Choral Festival
The first festival was held on May 20, 1938 in the Brown Memorial Gymnasium in Madison where
nine choirs performed individually. The original schools included Aurora High School, Rising Sun
High School, Lawrenceburg High School, Vevay High School, North Vernon High School,
Jeffersonville High School, Madison High School, and New Albany High School. The Hanover College
Choir also performed under the direction of Max Poland.
It was quite the event with the Rotary Clubs of Madison, Vevay, Lawrenceburg, and New Albany
distributing 5,000 souvenir programs. The festival accompanist was Laura Bach, a private piano
teacher and organist for the Madison Presbyterian Church. WHAS Louisville did a live remote
broadcast of the performance and the Madison Courier noted “how lovely all the students looked
dressed in navy and white, and of the delightful dinner” shared by the directors and principals at the
Hillside Inn prior to the concert.
In 1948, George Krueger of Indiana University began his tenure as the annual conductor and
continued for the next 25 years as the festival mass choir conductor until his retirement. It was Mr.
Krueger who instituted the still long-standing tradition of concluding every festival with Wilhousky’s
stirring arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Since 1980, the festival has hired nationally known conductors to prepare the festival choir. Each
member school has the opportunity to host this prestigious event and Madison Consolidated Schools
is proud to be your 2019 host. Mrs. Teresa Grayson, Madison Fine Arts Academy Choir Director
would like to invite our community to join us for this unique celebration of music. “My hope is we will
fill the gymnasium and enjoy a wonderful evening of music. These students and instructors have
worked very hard to prepare their pieces for the enjoyment of our audience,” shared Grayson. “We
would love to invite our choral alumni come and join us for the Battle Hymn of the Republic at the
conclusion of the evening’s program.”
General admission tickets are $5.00 and will be available at the door.