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Tom Hall
Tom Hall (Sean Little)

Tom Hall will step down as music director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in July 2017, after his 35th season at the helm.

"It's an emotional decision," Hall said. "This has been my life's work. But I think it's the right time. I'll be 62 when I leave. Any organization can benefit from a new jolt of energy and perspective. Choral Arts is a really good, solid organization with a really good, solid following. It's well-positioned to move onto the next stage. Choral Arts is certainly much bigger than me."

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The 130-voice choir, which presents its own concerts and also performs frequently on Baltimore Symphony Orchestra programs, is in its 50th anniversary season. The high caliber of the chorus was memorably reinforced earlier this season with a program of French choral classics.

Hall began his tenure in 1982, succeeding founding music director Theodore Morrison.

"We think Tom is peerless, and we wish he would stay forever," said Choral Arts board President Richard Dellheim. "But we understand his choice. He has chosen to leave at a time when the organization is at a peak artistically. Because of that, we expect we'll attract top-notch conductors from around the country to apply for the position."

A search committee of board, staff and chorus members has been formed to find the next music director.

Choral Arts has an annual budget of more than $750,000 and an endowment of more than $1.5 million.

"It's fiscally and financially sound, and has great infrastructure," Hall said. "I'm very confident there will be a smooth transition."

Hall plans to continue working at WYPR-FM, where he is host of "Maryland Morning."

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