Symphony Chorus of New Orleans (SCNO) is a 501(c)3 organization, specializing in the performance of major orchestral choral works. Under the direction of Steven Edwards, the 85-member all volunteer community-wide chorus performs numerous concerts each year as the Principal Chorus of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). All performance services of the Chorus are donated to the orchestra. In addition to performing for the LPO, SCNO also produces its own concerts.
Symphony Chorus (then, known as New Orleans Symphony Chorus) was founded in 1981 under the auspices of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra to promote the performance of the highest quality choral music in the New Orleans area on a regular basis. When the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra ceased operations in 1991 and re-emerged as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chorus reorganized as an entity separate from the orchestra and became known as Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Today, SCNO functions as a fully independent organization. A community-based volunteer Board of Directors governs all operations of the Chorus.
The Chorus consists of approximately 85 volunteer singers who must pass a comprehensive audition. All singers have considerable experience in choral music and many of them hold professional positions with other choruses and church choirs. All singers commit to weekly rehearsals (2½ hours each) throughout the season, plus additional time commitments during performance weeks. Singers are also asked to purchase their own music scores, in instances when they are not provided by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.