Manhattan Choral Ensemble – Mission and History

Mission and History

MCE performing on the Today Show, Dec. 22, 2003

The Manhattan Choral Ensemble (MCE) is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 corporation in the state of New York, performing challenging choral repertoire and aspiring to the highest levels of musicianship. The group is comprised of 40 singers and rehearses weekly in mid-town Manhattan. Recent performances have included a concert with Baroque orchestra featuring the Vivaldi Gloria and a program of Christmas music from the Netherlands performed in the oldest Dutch church in New York City.


The MCE was formed in the fall of 2000 by Thomas Cunningham, the current music director, and Matt Laufer, the current president of the Board of Directors. The group was originally supported entirely by its members, presenting free concerts of choral music on the campus of Columbia University, where Mr. Laufer is a doctoral candidate in English. The choir quickly attracted a loyal following and began to expand its membership and its activities. In its second year, the MCE performed in conjunction with literary journal “McSweeney’s” at a book signing featuring David Eggers, Zadie Smith, and Neal Pollack, and traveled to Boston to perform a joint concert with the Boston Choral Ensemble. Highlights of the third year included a capacity performance at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and a concert as part of the Music at St. Paul’s concert series, featuring Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom.