The Ambassador Chorale was founded at Florida Memorial University by the late Professor Roosevelt Williams during the 1975-76 academic year with four members officially representing the University as its public relations entity.
Today, under the direction of Dr. Argarita Johnson-Palavicini, a.k.a. “Dr. J,” the Chorale has upwards of fifty members who not only perform as an independent academic ensemble, but enjoy exposure to sight-reading, vocal technique, and performance pedagogy. Members of the Chorale also hold leadership responsibility for the organization through appointed administrative positions.
The Chorale performs a wide range of music and experiments with various musical genres, as well as student compositions. Most recently the Chorale performed with the New World Symphony and world-renowned soprano Michelle Bradley. The Chorale has performed in the United States, the Bahamas, and Europe to great acclaim.
Florida Memorial University is one of Florida’s oldest academic centers and the only historically Black university in South Florida. It was founded as the Florida Baptist Institute by members of the Bethlehem Baptist Association in 1879 in Live Oak, Florida, to create “a college of instruction for our ministers and children.”
At the turn of the twentieth century, American composer J. Rosamond Johnson taught music at the school, during which time he composed the music for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” later popularized as the “Negro National Anthem” by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Other notable former faculty include celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston, who taught in the 1940s.