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Orange County Digest

Costa Mesa : Master Chorale Director Resigns After Dispute

October 25, 1987

Conductor Maurice Allard of the Orange County Master Chorale, one of the county's oldest performing arts groups, has resigned in an apparent artistic dispute with the chorale's board of directors.

Donna Bunce, manager of the chorale, said Saturday that Allard quit Friday as music director because of differences over the status of The Californians, an ensemble within the chorale.

In recent months, The Californians and their lighter, more contemporary show have become an increasingly important facet of the chorale's program. But Allard, who does not conduct The Californians, was reportedly concerned about the importance placed on the ensemble.

Allard met with the board Wednesday and again Thursday, but the two sides were unable to resolve their differences. Friday morning, Allard, who has been the chorale's conductor since 1978, submitted his resignation.

"We were all very surprised," Bunce said.

Bunce said the board asked for another month to study the matter, but Allard "wanted a decision now. . . . He seemed determined to get an answer" right away.

"It's too bad," said Bunce, a member of the chorale for 17 years. "I think it could have been resolved. . . . He is a wonderful conductor and I love him very much. He will be missed dearly."

Allard has been a music educator and conductor in the county for the past 20 years. Before taking over the Master Chorale, he was on the music faculty at UC Irvine and later was the founding director of the Irvine Master Chorale. He has also been vocal coach to Hollywood film stars and has run his own music academy.

A search has begun for a temporary replacement to lead the chorale's Dec. 20 Christmas concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

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