CVCU LogoCelebrating more than 70 years of choral excellence....
" support classical choral music literature...."


The Chagrin Valley Choral Union was a not-for-profit choral group dedicated to providing a unique opportunity for singers and music lovers to perform the masterworks of choral literature for residents of the Chagrin Valley and the greater Northeast Ohio region. The roster of singers was as diverse as the music we performed. We welcomed all types of singers ranging from professional musicians to church and community group participants. We took pride in our dedication to learning and making music while maintaining a family friendly and caring environment.

In 1953, James A. Raftus, the Director of Music at the Methodist Church in Chagrin Falls, first performed Handel's Messiah as a Christmas gift for his congregation and the Chagrin Valley area. To do the work justice, Mr. Raftus invited the choir members of St. Martin's Episcopal Church to join his singers.

Over the next 70 years, the Chagrin Valley Choral Union, as it came to be known, performed many major sacred and secular works, some in collaboration with other area musical organizations, including Mendelssohn's Elijah, masses by Mozart, & Fauré, Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Brahms' German Requiem, Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Charpentier's Te Deum, Schubert's Mass in G, Dvořák's Mass in D, Pergolesi's Magnificat, Puccini's Magnificat, Pachelbel's Magnificat, Vivaldi's Magnificat, Bach's Magnificat, Sternkopf's Magnificat and Mozart's Requiem.

Mr. Raftus was the first of only eight directors, including A. Edward Battaglia II, Kurt Sauer, Edward E. Wiles, Edward A. Shure, J.D. Goddard, Ben Malkevitch and finally, Anthony Bianchi, to lead the Chagrin Valley Choral Union.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Chagrin Valley Choral Union is to enrich its audiences through innovative programming and exceptional performances of a broad range of classical sacred and secular choral music literature.

Inherent in its mission is the Chagrin Valley Choral Union's belief that choral music is a compelling collaboration that creates a powerful, shared experience unifying listeners and musicians of all backgrounds, beliefs and ages.


On October 8, 2023, the board of directors formally voted to dissolve the organization due to declining membership. The chorus will remain a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation until dissolution is complete.

Board of Directors

Renee Karns
Patrick Byers
Jim Ritzert
Julie Denker
Artistic Director
Anthony Bianchi (ex officio)

Note: Chagrin Valley Choral Union is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and operates within formal Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws in the state of Ohio. Membership dues, augmented by periodic fund-raisers, donations from concerts, and interested persons and businesses currently fund the Choral Union. Donations may be tax deductable; consult your tax advisor for guidance.