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.
Jason C. Tramm is delighted to begin his tenure as Music Director of the Morris Choral Society. A seasoned professional conductor and Director, his work has received critical acclaim throughout the Unites States and abroad. Maestro Tramm serves as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for the MidAtlantic Opera for whom he made his Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) debut on October 17, 2015. The program, entitled “A Prayer for Peace,” featured works of Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, and Saygun, and the performance received a standing ovation. A Prayer for Peace concert took place on March 18, 2016 in Alice Tully Hall and marked Maestro Tramm’s Lincoln Center debut.He is in his 10th season as Director of Music, in Residence, of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in the summer months, where he leads the choral, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the 6,500-seat historic Great Auditorium. In addition to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival, a beloved event in its 62th year and attended by thousands, he also conducts orchestral and sacred masterworks. He has appeared on two National Public Radio broadcasts with organ virtuoso Gordon Turk and a large orchestra. Mr. Tramm is also Principal Conductor of the Teatro Lirico D’Europa, a touring professional opera company, with whom he will conduct over 25 performance this season in 6 states. He is also the Artistic Advisor/Conductor of the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (Oradell, NJ).Mr. Tramm served as Artistic Director of the New Jersey State Opera from 2008 to 2012, where he collaborated with some of the finest voices in opera, including Samuel Ramey, Vladimir Galouzine, Angela Brown, Gregg Baker, and Paul Plishka. His 2009 HDTV broadcast with PBS affiliate NJN of “Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove,” garnered a regional Emmy Award nomination.An accomplished educator, he also serves as Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities at Seton Hall University, where he leads the University Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, and teaches voice and conducting. Education and working with young musicians have always been a central part of Jason Tramm’s career. He is also actively sought as a clinician and regularly presents lectures. Mr. Tramm holds degrees in music from the Crane School, the Hartt School, and a DMA in Conducting from Rutgers University, where he was the recipient of their prestigious Presidential Fellowship. In 2003, he joined the ranks of Metropolitan Opera Stars Renee Fleming and Stephanie Blythe in being honored with the Rising Star Award from the SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association. A frequent guest conductor, he has led operatic and symphonic performances in Italy, Romania, Albania, and most recently, Hungary, where he recorded an album of rarely heard French operatic arias with the Szeged Symphony. Upcoming guest conducting appearances will take place in Italy and Romania
Hailed as a “real virtuoso” by the late Ruth Laredo, conductor and pianist Michael Shane Wittenburg is active with many companies in the greater NYC area. He is currently the Director of Music at Christ Lutheran Church of Paramus, NJ, and has been an assistant conductor and vocal coach at opera companies in Nashville, Orlando, Sarasota, and New York, as well as Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Chorale. He made his professional opera conducting debut with Amore Opera where he serves as Chorus Master and resident conductor, and is a performing member of Ensemble Tremblay at the Mozart at Monteux festival in Hancock, ME as both pianist and violinist in orchestral, chamber, duo, and soloist roles. While an Assistant Professor of Music at Lee University where he was Music Director for both the Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre, he led performances ranging from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, to Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All. He was the interim Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has guest conducted the Ocala (FL) Symphony and the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (NJ). He has made solo appearances as pianist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Ocala Symphony. As an orchestral player, he has served in key roles as either Violinist or Keyboardist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as well as the Brevard (FL) Symphony Orchestra. He has been a faculty member of the Heifetz International Music Institute as a collaborative pianist and sonata coach, and has appeared in collaborative recital with such artists as Metropolitan Opera soprano Stella Zambalis, concert violinist Livia Sohn, and oboist Gerard Reuter, a founding member of the Orpheus Ensemble.A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Wittenburg’s training includes Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied with Fernando Laires and Alan Feinberg, and held a Fellowship in opera coaching, as well as a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His teachers include Henry Charles Smith, David Effron, Dr. Steven Bird, and, most recently, Michael Jinbo at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians, where he was awarded the Osher Scholar prize. He was the Mary Ragland Young Artist Pianist at Nashville Opera, where he directed 66 performances of the world premiere children’s opera, The Ugly Duckling.
Michael Shane Wittenburg
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 and by the Masterwork Music and Art Foundation.
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 Audition CD/DVD and Needs Statement should be subnitted to the Scholarship Committee at PO Box 1783, Morristown, NJ 07960. Finalists will interview with the Scholarship Committee. Please consider applying for our $2500 scholarship for 2021. To apply, click on the Application button and when the file appears, click on the printer icon at the bottom of the page to print the application form. We look forward to hearing from you!
Emily 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.
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.
2013 - 2014 Award Winner: Emily Sung of Lawrenceville, NJ
2019 Award Winner: Virginia Lafean of Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Virginia is a sophomore at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she studies Vocal Performance with her teacher Wolfgang Brendel, a world-renowned baritone and faculty member at Jacobs. She is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Kelley School of Business, and is very thankful that she is able to pursue both her loves of music and finance. At Jacobs, she has performed in the opera choruses of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Bernstein’s MASS, and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and will be performing in Puccini’s Suor Angelica this coming February. Previous honors include induction into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education, and the Premier Young Artist Award at Jacobs. She plans to take her music to Scotland, where she will pursue her master’s degree at the Royal Conservatoire, and to Austria with the Jacobs School of Music AIMZ program. She would like to thank her family for their unconditional love and her countless mentors for their support and guidance
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.
Naomi, 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.
2012 - 2013 Award Winner: Naomi Ortiz of Kearny, NJ
May 18, 2019 8 PMMay 19, 2019 3 PM
Our Spring concerts for 2019 were held at the Morristown Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown with a program entitled:“Greatest Hits of Opera & Broadway”We celebrated great music from several operas, including unforgettable works by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner, Offenbach and Mascagni. Joining the chorus was the renowned soloist Christina Major, soprano. Hits from the Broadway stage included Medleys from Bernstein’s West Side Story. Also included were selections from the Broadway shows Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music and Crazy for You.The Express Male group also sang some Broadway tunes.
In December, 2019, the Morris Choral Society presented two concerts at the United Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown.The program was entitled: Baroque Jewels & Songs of the SeasonThe program was directed by Dr. Jason Tramm, and opened with Charpentier’s Midnight Mass. The Express Male group sang some selections following the intermission.A group of holiday songs followed the intermission.
Dec. 14, 2019 8 PMDec. 15, 2019 3 PM
In the spring of 2020, we were unable to present a concert due to the Corona Virus. We did, however, do some Zoom recordings. Click on the “Hear Us” tab above to hear our recordings.
Our Holiday concerts this season were held at St. Virgils Parish in Morris Plains, NJ. The title of this program was:Christmas with the Morris Choral Society: “Songs Earthly and Divine”The Morris Choral Society sang Benjamin Britten’s great Ceremony of Carols with harp. Also on the concert was holiday music from three centuries, including new settings of “Deck the Halls” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” The concert shared the warmth of the holiday season for the whole family.
Dec. 8, 2018 8 PMDec. 9, 2018 3 PM
“Peace, Triumphant Peace!” Our 2016-17 concert season concluded at the Dorothy Young Center, Drew University, with a choral/orchestral performance, directed by Dr. Jason Tramm, and was dedicated to the subject of peace and the peacemakers that made a difference in our world. The Morris Choral Society partnered with the Mid Atlantic Opera Orchestra on a program that inspired and uplifted. Works included Mendelssohn’s serene “Verleih uns Freiden”, (Grant us Peace), a capella work for choir and Beethoven’s majestic Choral Fantasy, Op. 80, The concert concluded with the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins’ monumental “The Peacemakers”, a major work that was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2012.
May 20, 2017
The Morris Choral Society presented its Annual Holiday Spectacular, “Resounding Joy” on December 9 and 10th at the Bickford Theater. The first half of the program featured Christmas works by master composers through the ages (Saint-Saens, Bruckner, and Gjeilo), including sections from Rutter’s triumphant Magnificat. The second half of the program featured our very own Express Male Sextet and members of the Morris Knolls High School Choral program. The Morris Chorale then delighted the audience with popular songs of the season and a holiday sing along that brought “Resounding Joy” to all!
Dec. 9 & 10, 2017
Our Spring concert for 2018 was held on Saturday, May 12, at 8:00 PM at the Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown. Our concert was entitled, “Rebirth and Renewal, a Celebration of Spring”, and was conducted by our Musical Director, Dr. Jason Tramm. For the first part of the program we sang Faure’s Requiem, featuring Maya Hoover, Mezzo Soloist and Jonathan Scott, Baritone Soloist. We will be accompanied by the MidAtlantic Chamber Orchestra. Works presented in the second half of the program were by Gwyneth Walker, Ola Gjeilo, Daniel Elder and Samuel Barber. Also featured on the program was the Clarum Sonum Choir, and the Express Male sextet.
May 12, 2018
May 2, 2020 8 PMMay 3, 2020 3 PM
We are very sorry to announce that our Spring concerts have been postponed due to the spreading of the coronavirus. We are hoping that the virus will have abated, and that we will be able to reschedule the programs for June or July.If you have purchased tickets for the May concert, please keep them, and they will be honored when we are able to resume our choral activity. If you are unable to attend the rescheduled concerts, you may request a refund of your purchases. Since the postponing of our concerts has created some financial hardship, we would welcome a 100% tax deductible donation of the funds to our chorus.Thank you and stayed tuned for more information.
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Rather than send out tickets in response to ticket purchases on our web site, we will use the PayPal receipt, which has all of the required information on it concerning the purchase. Please print the receipt and present it to our personnel at the door for entrance to the concert. Your ticket is good for either concert on the schedule.Should you be unable to print the receipt, please advise us, and we will send you a copy by mail. A copy of your PayPal purchase will also be held at the door on the date of the concert, should you not receive it in time.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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Please consider purchasing an ad in our fall and spring concert folders. Ad costs are $70 for a ¼ page, $125 for a ½ page, and $225 for a full page. A full page on the inside cover is $250. The above payments purchase an ad in both the fall and spring concert programs. Please contact Elsie Donohue at 973-723-6424 to purchase an ad. Ads must be purchased by Nov. 13 to be included in the fall and spring programs.
Contact UsMailing Address: Morris Choral Society P.O. Box 1783 Morristown, NJ 07962-1783Telephone: 973-267-4936 (Dale Leppard, President)E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgRehearsals: Monday evenings, 7:30 to 9:30 Frelinghuysen Middle School 2 Jane Way (Off Hanover Avenue) Morristown, NJ 07960Executive BoardMusic Director:Jason C. TrammPresident: Dale (Bud) LeppardVice-President:Robert KennadayTreasurerAudrey WellsMembership Secretary:Roberta FosterRecording Secretary:Lisa GonzalezCorresponding Secretary:Catherine RusyniakMembers-At-Large:Anita CromptonBarbara StrombergAudrey SchultzWendy SchrammPublic Relations/Media:Ms. Esther KashkinMr. Don Jay SmithTelephone: 973-769-9320 Telephone: 908-832-1020 e-mail: email@example.com e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.orgTo be added to our mailing list, e-mail:Ms. Elsie Donohue at email@example.comTo be added to our e-mail information list, email:Ms. Joen Luy Ferrari at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Access to the concert:The Morris Choral Society is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA). Ticket purchasers with disabilities who are not able to access the concert venue will be refunded the full purchase price of the ticket, plus reasonable travel expenses.