Community Singers Needed!
Come sing with us!

The community concert is a legacy of two long-time members of the Choral Union, Fred & JoAnn Portz. They knew the value of music within the community. Your participation is free. The concert is free. The cost is your time, energy and voice. You'll get an amazing return on your investment.

Fred & JoAnn Portz

We typically perform a large work and invite community singers to join us in early spring.  Stay tuned for details!  Any questions, please call 262-238-3454 or email

Some History Behind the Fred and JoAnn Portz Community Concert

Waukesha Choral Union has had the pleasure of offering this free community concert for over 40 years. This Choral Union tradition began with the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at Carroll University.   As the endeavor evolved, the Messiah was offered in a rotation with Haydn’s Creation.  Since Michael Chapel joined the Choral Union as Artistic Director in 2015, The Messiah is in a rotation with other large works such as Brahms Requiem (2017) and Mozart Requiem (2019).  Typically these pieces are comprised of choir, orchestra, and soloists.  The choir is made up of Waukesha Choral Union members and volunteer community singers.  Community singers interested in joining the performance must attend three rehearsals, but they do not need to audition.  This grand community presentation is supported by area businesses, foundations, and benefactors, as well as through generous donations from patrons.  Before their deaths, former WCU singers Fred and JoAnn Portz were instrumental in funding this community endeavor for now and the future.  Year after year we are thrilled to present a high quality arts presentation to the community, for free, to continue the presence of arts in the community and to ensure access for all. 

A Tribute to The Portz Family...

JoAnn passed away on July 13, 2013, preceded in death on September 3, 2010, by her husband, Fred. The Waukesha couple played an integral role in Waukesha Choral Union’s artistic and financial success. In fact, it is because of their generosity that you are able to enjoy this gift to the community year after year.  Please learn more about this wonderful gift from an extraordinary couple as described by Tom Custis, WCU’s former president:

The couple behind “Handel’s Messiah” and “Creation” In the early years of the Waukesha Choral Union, an idea was hatched to put on a community concert. The chorus was to perform “Handel’s Messiah” and admission would be free. Artistically, it would be desirable to have professional soloists, as well as professional orchestral accompaniment.

But that would take money. Fred Portz, an erstwhile bass in the chorus, quickly became its champion. He personally accepted responsibility for providing and raising funds to make this happen. Early on, the tradition was expanded to include an invitation to all singers within the community to join in the uplifting experience of performing this wonderful work. Many years later, in order to provide some variety, it was decided that “Haydn’s Creation” could be performed as an alternative.

Throughout, the traditions of free admission, inclusion of community singers, and presentation at the highest artistic level were continued; and Fred’s support never faltered. Fred’s wife, JoAnn, was also in the Choral Union, and joined Fred in the active support of this annual project. When Fred passed away, JoAnn continued supporting the project with her voice and her financial support. Even now that they have both passed away, the Choral Union continues to receive financial support in their memory.

It is no overstatement to say that we would not be here today enjoying one of the world’s great musical accomplishments, were it not for Fred and JoAnn Portz. It is for that reason that the Board of Directors of the Waukesha Choral Union has voted to designate this annual event the Fred and JoAnn Portz Community Concert. We hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoy performing it; all with the fondest of memories of our friends Fred and JoAnn.

Tom Custis

Waukesha Choral Union President, 2007 - 2013

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