The Morris Choral Society has a twofold purpose: To make available to all residents of the Morris area varied choral musical programs and to give residents an opportunity to perform in the choral organization. We accept new members to the society by audition in September and in January, and welcome the opportunity to perform for any local organization. We hope that the community will continue to feel as personal an identification with us as we feel with the community we serve.
DirectorMatthew Lee, recently appointed Music Director of Morris Choral Society, received his Bachelors of Music in Choral and General Music Education from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL, and is currently the choral director at John P. Stevens High School in Edison, NJ, where he directs the Concert Choir, A cappella Choir, Chamber Choir, Men’s Choir, and Women’s Choir. Prior to his current position, he was the choral director at Parsippany Hills High School. At Northwestern University, he was music director and principle arranger of a student contemporary a cappella group as well as a member of the University Chorale. Mr. Lee has worked with students with disabilities as Summer Music Teacher and Americorps Member at the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities, Lakeview School, in Edison, NJ. Mr. Lee has studied voice with Richard Drews, and Bruce Hall, and Jonathan and Li-Chan Maxham. He has given presentations on Artistry in the Choral Warm-up at the 2014 NJACDA Summer Conference and the 2015 NJMEA All-State conference, and is active in the North Jersey area as manager and rehearsal conductor for high school county, regions, and state-level honors choirs. He currently lives in Edison, New Jersey.
AccompanistWe are fortunate to have Kenneth G. Rapp, a versatile and talented musician, as our Rehearsal Pianist/Accompanist. He has served in this capacity since 1973, and also served as our Assistant Director until 2002.Recipient of a B.S.E.E. from Newark College of Engineering in 1960, he was employed by PSE&G Co. until retirement.Mr. Rapp studied organ with William K. Burns of Maplewood, New Jersey, and has been Music Director and Organist of First United Methodist Church of Montclair since 1964. Additionally, he was Music Director and Accompanist for Assumption Theatre, Morristown, 1970-82, and the Director of the PSE&G Co. Employee Chorus.
RepertoireSince its inception, the Morris Choral Society, (MCS) has developed a vast and varied repertoire, including many major works.ln addition to the established repertoire, the Society is also committed to the performance of new works, and over the last few years, several newly published compositions have been dedicated to the Morris Choral Society. ln 1980, the Society was proud to commission its first major work - a setting of the Gloria, by the renowned American composer Kevin Norris.As evidence of its dedication to growth, the MCS has consistently demonstrated its versatility by excelling in a wide range of contemporary music styles and expanding its venue of performances to such places as the Community Theatre in Morristown. Examples of the group's versatility include international folk songs sung in their native languages, American folk music, the Broadway theatre, and an impressive list of serious choral music from the Renaissance to the present with several premier performances, and a wide range of sacred music.Funding has been made possible in part by the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has also been provided by the Arts Council of the Morris Area/Dodge Foundation Partnership.
History of the Morris Choral SocietyIn 1972 fire destroyed the United Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown, and for the next two years the Methodist congregation held its services in the sanctuary of Temple B'nai Or. As the new Methodist Church neared completion, R. Wayne Walters, the bass soloist at both the Methodist Church and at Temple B'nai Or, composed a setting of the Friday Evening Service, Shabbat Hodaah, and dedicated it to the B'nai Or congregation and Rabbi Z. David Levy. To perform the work, a chorus was assembled made up of choir members from area churches. The performance was such a success that in the spring of 1973, Rabbi Levy asked Walters to reassemble the group and perform a concert of Russian and Israeli folk music for the 25th Anniversary of the State of Israel. The resounding success of this event caused several of the singers to suggest that the group remain together under Walters' leadership. In the summer of 1973 the Morris Choral Society (MCS) was incorporated, and it performed for the first time that December. Since its founding the ecumenical Society has made significant contributions to the local choral scene and throughout the Northern New Jersey area as well as appearing on NBC television's "First Estate" program. Its concert year, in general, includes two major concerts in and about Morris County. It has also served the Community through appearances at many of Morristown's annual celebrations of Independence Day, the historical Holly Walk, its popular Fall Festival On the Green, and most recently First Night. The Society has received international recognition performing successful concerts in England in 1990, Ireland in 1994, Scotland and Wales in 1996, France in 1998 and Italy in the summer of 2000. Also MCS has been represented by "ambassadorial" choral contingents in multi-choral units in Eastern Europe in 1997 and 2000. In the process the Society has assembled a vast and varied musical repertoire, the cornerstone of which is an impressive list of serious music from the Renaissance to the present. MCS has participated in a number of particularly exciting events. It performed with Judy Collins in her Christmas Show; and with Dave Brubeck in La Fiesta de la Posada, at the Community Theatre. Another highlight was singing the Beethoven Ninth (Choral) Symphony and Bloch's Sacred Service under Leon Hyman with the New NJ Philharmonic. Several collaborations with Jazz Pianist Rio Clemente and Friends have been popular as well. A Gershwin concert at the Morristown Community Theatre was sung to a sold-out audience of enthusiastic listeners. As stated, MCS touring ensembles have performed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, at premier churches and municipal sites. Especially moving were appreciations expressed to all Americans by municipal officials at two Morris Choral Society concerts in Caen, France, on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day liberations. Funding has been made possible in part by the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has also been provided by the Arts Council of the Morris Area/Dodge Foundation Partnership.
R. WAYNE WALTERS is a well-known New Jersey musician who sings, composes, and conducts in the Morris area and beyond.Mr. Walters was the founder, conductor, and music director of the Morris Choral Society of Morristown, New Jersey, now in its 43rd year. The chorus performs locally throughout the concert season and has toured England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, and Poland. In December of 2005 and again in 2006 Mr. Walters was selected as one of the conductors for the New York Choral Society's annual Messiah Sing-in in Avery Fisher Hall. For the Morris Choral Society's 2007 concert season, the chorus will include the premier performance of the Walters Requiem Mass in D-minor along with the Bernstein Chichester Psalms. In July, 2007, Mr. Walters conducted the chorus on a concert tour of Germany and Austria.After graduation from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with a B.S. degree in Music Education, Mr. Walters was granted a graduate voice scholarship by the Juilliard School, where he was a student of the renowned coach and music editor, Sergius Kagen. He earned an M.A. degree in voice and conducting at the College of New Jersey in Trenton.As a professional bass-baritone, Mr. Walters has performed in concert, recital, oratorio, opera, and musical comedy throughout Europe and the Eastern United States, and with musical organizations including the Wyoming Valley Oratorio Society, the New Shrewsbury Choral, The University Men's Glee Club of New York, The New Philharmonic Orchestra, Summit Symphony, Montclair Civic Chorus and Orchestra, Princeton Opera Theater, Sussex Symphony and Lyric Opera Company, and the College of New Jersey Opera Workshop. Mr. Walters sang the bass solos in Verdi's Requiem with the original Masterwork Chorus under David Randolph, and made his Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center debuts in Handel's Messiah with the same chorus and conductor. Mr. Walters was a music educator in the New Jersey Public Schools for thirty-six years, a member of the faculty of Fairleigh Dickenson University and the Encore Music Camp at Wilkes University in PA. He was theory instructor and director of choruses at Morristown High School, and was a guest conductor for the New Jersey School Music Association. In 1986 he was selected as Master Choral Music Teacher by the NJ Music Educators Association. He received The Governor's Award for excellence in the "Arts In Education Program" in New Jersey. Mr. Walters achieved national recognition as one of eight educators selected to participate in the filming of Craft And Joy In Teaching, a videotape for teacher training in American Colleges and Universities, made possible through The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. In 2001 Mr. Walters was recognized by the Arts Council of the Morris Area as "Outstanding Professional in the Arts." Mr. Walters was instructor of voice and adjunct professor of music at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown. Wayne and his wife, Ann, live in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
If you are:1. A New Jersey resident or student currently attending a New Jersey school,2 Age 19 or older,3. Pursuing a major or course of study in one of the following disciplines:a) Vocal performanceb) Vocal conductingc) Music education with a major in voice Please consider applying for our $2500 scholarship for the 2016 school year. We look forward to hearing from you! Check back here in mid-January, 2016 for application details.
2013 - 2014 Award Winner: Emily Sung of Lawrenceville, NJEmily is a first year graduate student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she is studying for a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting. Emily grew up in Lawrenceville, NJ and earned her Bachelor's Degree in History at Princeton University. After graduating, she continued on at Princeton for two years to study choral conducting with Gabriel Crouch, and to assistant conduct the Princeton University Glee Club under his mentorship.Upon completion of her Masters Degree at Westminster, Emily plans to pursue a Doctorate in Music.
2012 - 2013 Award Winner: Naomi Ortiz of Kearny, NJNaomi, a sophomore at New Jersey City University, is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education with a concentration in Classical Voice Performance. Naomi is a lyric soprano and studies voice under the tutelage of Sondra Kelly. Naomi's previous honors include being inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and receiving the George Hansler Choral Music Education Scholarship. Naomi would like to send a special thanks to her youngest brother, Nor Ortiz, for being her inspiration and to her entire family for their continuing love and support.
Stephanie Leotsakos is a senior at Princeton University majoring in music composition and minoring in vocal performance and teacher preparation. She aspires to be a professional opera singer and attend graduate school soon after graduation. Stephanie has performed various roles with the New York Lyric Opera Theatre, Princeton Music Department, and the Princeton Opera Company including Susanna and Barbarina in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Anna in Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel, Athena and Venus in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea, and Amelia in Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball. She currently studies with David Kellett, active lyric tenor and voice faculty at Princeton University. At the completion of this academic year she will be giving a full vocal recital on May 15th and two full productions of her senior thesis, an original opera titled OMG, at the end of April.
2014-2015 Award Winner: Stephanie Leotsakos of Sparta, NJ
2010 - 2011 Award Winner: Chelsea Rose Friedlander, of Port Murray, NJChelsea recently received her Master's degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with the head of the Vocal Department, Maitland Peters. She has an active performance schedule, along with audio and video of recent performances, at mchelseafriedlander.comFunding has been made possible in part by the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has also been provided by the Arts Council of the Morris Area/Dodge Foundation Partnership.
2011 - 2012 Award Winner: Taylor Kurilew, of South Plainfield, NJTaylor is a senior at Montclair State University, where she is pursuing a degree in Music Education with a concentration in Voice at the John J. Cali School of Music. Taylor studies with Professor Anastasia Swope. After Taylor finishes her degree in the spring of 2013 she plans to go right back to school to pursue a Masters in Vocal Performance.
Star-Spangled Spectacular at United Methodist Church on the Green, Morristown.Celebrating the anniversaries of the Incorporation of Morristown, the Statue of Liberty, the Star-Spangled Banner and the State of New Jersey.Featuring American patriotic choral music of Irving Berlin, Randall Thompson, Peter Wilhousky and William Billings.
June 27, 2015
At 8:00 PM on May 14, 2016, at the Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown, the Morris Choral Society will present a program entitled “Endless Song”. The program will include Vivaldi's Gloria and other works, including pieces by James Erb, Mark Miller, Ola Gjeilo, Lloyd Pfautsch and more. Accompanying the chorus will be a full orchestra, and professional soloists will also perform.The Express Male sextet will also perform several selections.
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Please do not purchase tickets on-line less than 1 week before performance date. If you have not received your ticket by the performance date, you may pick up your ticket at the door. You may purchase tickets at the door on the date of the performance by check, cash or credit card.To order tickets by mail, please send your request at least two weeks prior to the performance to:The Morris Choral SocietyP.O. Box 1783Morristown, NJ 07962-1783
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Contact UsMailing Address: Morris Choral Society P.O. Box 1783 Morristown, NJ 07962-1783Telephone: 973-267-9833 (Vince Marchese, President)E-Mail: email@example.comRehearsals: Monday evenings, 7:15 to 9:30 Frelinghuysen Middle School 2 Jane Way (Off Hanover Avenue) Morristown, NJ 07960Executive BoardMusic Director:Matthew LeePresident: Vincent P. MarcheseVice-President:Dale (Bud) LeppardMembership Secretary:Wendy SchrammRecording Secretary:Lisa GonzalezCorresponding Secretary:Audrey SvenningsenTreasurerThomas RikerMembers-At-Large:Ingrid BruskyKaren KreckelMarla MuellerBarbara StrombergPublic Relations/Media:Don Jay SmithLKS Associates, Inc.Telephone: 908-832-1020e-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org site: www.lksassociates.com
Morris Choral Society Policy Statement:The Morris Choral Society has a firm commitment to safeguard the privacy of our customers.We collect the e-mail addresses of those who purchase tickets from our web site so that we may send ticket confirmation to the purchaser’s e-mail address, or so that we may respond to questions regarding our organization or our performances. We may also collect your e-mail address under the following circumstance:When it is necessary to share information in order to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, or as otherwise required by law.The Morris Choral Society uses your personal information only to conduct business with you. Your personally identifiable information will not be rented, sold or shared with any third party except as otherwise agreed by you.The Morris Choral Society uses collected information for the sole purposes of forwarding ticket confirmations to your e-mail address, or for responding to questions you have asked about our organization and our performances.Security:We may record your computer’s IP address with your order to help us identify fraudulent credit card use. We may share this information with the financial institution that issued the credit card with which an order was placed, or with law enforcement authorities if we determine, or are notified, that the use of the credit card was fraudulent.Disclosure:The Morris Choral Society may periodically update this policy. We will notify you about significant changes in the way we treat personal information by placing a prominent notice on our web site.Delivery Method:Purchasers of tickets on the Morris Choral Society web site will receive a confirmation e-mail which may be presented at the door for any public concert being performed by the Morris Choral Society.Refunds:Funds used to purchase tickets on the Morris Choral Society web site will be refunded if the Morris Choral Society is notified at least five days before the concert for which the ticket was purchased, that the ticket cannot be used.Once the funds for the ticket purchase have been deposited in the PayPal account of the Morris Choral Society, a refund check will be issued to the purchaser by the treasurer of the Morris Choral Society within thirty days of such deposit. Or, at the purchaser’s option, a purchased ticket may be used for any future concert being performed by the Morris Choral Society.Cancellations:Should a concert be cancelled for which a ticket has been purchased, the ticket price will be refunded as per the above Refunds Policy, or at the purchaser’s discretion, a purchased ticket may be used for any future concert being performed by the Morris Choral Society.