Women's choirs are a relatively recent invention.
Though it seems hard to fathom now, it wasn't until the 19th century that women singers became more widely accepted, says Julie Carter, artistic director of Soli Deo Gloria, a notable Fresno women's choir. Before that, most choral literature was written for men, castrati and boys.
And when it comes to female composers, most of them didn't come into their own until the 20th century.
Which makes the current Soli Deo Gloria and a concert titled "Sing it Sister! Six Centuries of Girl Groups," which will be performed Friday night at University Presbyterian Church, even more remarkable.
"The majority of the music was composed specifically for women's ensembles, which is actually somewhat unusual prior to the second half of the 20th century," Carter says.
The program includes a chant from 12th century composer Hildegard von Bingen, works by Vivaldi, Bach, Tallis, Morley, Brahms and Poulenc, and songs by contemporary composer Z. Randall Stroope, whose music is frequently sung by high school, college and church choirs. There are spirituals, a Sweet Adelines arrangement and even music by the Andrews Sisters.
"It's really a delightful mix of music," Carter says.
Soli Deo Gloria, 7:30 p.m. Friday, University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Ave. sdgchoir.com, (559) 473-6486. $15 advance, $20 at door, $10 students.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6373, firstname.lastname@example.org and @donaldbeearts on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.