The Morris Choral Society under the baton of Music Director Jason Tramm will present the work of three contemporary New Jersey composers in their annual Holiday Concert  “Songs Earthly and Divine” December 8 and 9 at St. Virgil’s Church in Morris Plains.  The concert will feature the New Jersey premiere of R. Wayne Walters, Magnificat and will the contemporary works Dai Diddle Dai by David Eddleman and Michael John Trotta’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel.

Written as part of his larger composition Anthem for the Christmas Season composer R. Wayne Walters Magnificat follows in the tradition of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, a musical setting of the biblical canticle “Magnificat” also known as the “Song of Mary” - one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Walters, a well-known bass-baritone, will also be performing in the concert “Songs Earthly and Divine.” In addition to his work as a composer of choral and instrumental music Walters is a highly regarded music educator and founder and former music director of the acclaimed Morris Choral Society, now in its 45th season.

David Eddleman’s joyous composition Dai Diddle Dai captures the celebratory mood and ethnic flavor of Hanukkah with its dance-like "Dai diddle dai" phrases. Eddleman’s original work recounts the traditional “Festival of Lights” ritual celebrated in homes worldwide honoring the miracle which took place during the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. "Light the candles, put them in the window, burn them bright for all the world to see."  David Eddleman has taught at all levels of Music Education and for 24 years worked as a Senior Editor at Silver Burdett Ginn, a leading publisher of classroom music materials, where he designed classroom music curricula. As a composer of choral music, he has over 700 titles published with a broad spectrum of publishers.  Since his retirement from Silver Burdett Ginn, he has continued to write music, teach at local community colleges in New Jersey, where he lives, and appears as a choral clinician and guest lecturer.

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Composer Michael John Trotta’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel was conceived as a dialogue between the supplicants and the creator, a combination of old and new, juxtaposing a personal longing for something still to come, with the steadfast assurance of something ever-present yet not always seen. While the original theme is associated with the Christmas season, the wider theme of longing for something greater is universal to the human condition. The tune used in Trotta’s Veni, Veni Emmanuel is a variant of the original chant tune based on the composer’s childhood memory of the singing the traditional melody. Trotta’s compositions have been informed by his experience as a church music director and educator at the elementary, middle school, high school, and university level. His works have received critical acclaim by the Choral Journal, Choral Scholar and Gramophone and have been described by Choral Scholar to “inform the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time.” Trotta’s composition “The Seven Last Words of Christ” received its Carnegie Hall premiere in 2017.

“Songs Earthly and Divine” performed by the 70 member, New Jersey based Morris Choral Society will also present spirited and inspirational Holiday Music curated from over 300 years of great music. The concert designed to delight the entire family will  feature compositions from Johan Sebastian Bach to Irving Berlin. Joining MCS for the holiday concert will be the popular sextet Express Male, formed five years ago as an independent vocal ensemble and now a regular feature at MCS concerts. The members of the group are John Collins of Raritan, Bud Leppard of Morristown, Chip Wood of Basking Ridge, Bill Walter of Oak Ridge, Albert Perkins of Philadelphia, Wayne Walters of Parsippany, and Rob Walters of Long Valley. Pianist Ken Rapp of Morristown is the accompanist.  

The Morris Choral Society’s Annual Holiday Spectacular will be held at St. Virgil’s Church, 250 Speedwell Avenue, in Morris Plains on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for children under 18. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 908-459-5223 or visit www.morrischoralsociety.org

ABOUT THE MORRIS CHORAL SOCIETY

The Morris Choral Society (MCS), now celebrating its 45th year is one of Northern New Jersey's oldest and most active and beloved not-for-profit arts organizations dedicated to enhancing community life by performing and presenting the highest quality classical choral repertoire from the last three centuries. Since its founding in 1973, MCS has dedicated itself to the residents of Morris County and has played a significant role in  Northern New Jersey's artistic community, nominated by its peers for the 2018 New Jersey People's Choice Award, Choral Group Division. Traditionally each performance season includes two major concerts as well as several concert appearances at many of Morristown's annual celebrations: Independence Day, the 911 Observance, the Holiday Festival on the Green and First Night. 

The MCS has performed with Judy Collins in her Christmas Show; with Dave Brubeck in La Fiesta de la Posada, at the Community Theatre at MPAC. The Morris Choral 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. The MCS has been represented by "ambassadorial" choral contingents in multi-choral units in Eastern Europe in 1997 and 2000. Over the past 5 decades the MCS has assembled a vast and varied musical repertoire, the cornerstone of which is an impressive library of music from the Renaissance to the present. 

The MCS is funded 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. To learn more about the Morris Choral Society and its programming visit www.morrischoralsociety.org.

ABOUT JASON TRAMM

Morris Choral Society's Music Director Jason Tramm is recognized as one of the most dynamic young conductors on the podium today. Appointed to the position in 2016, Tramm has led the MCS in the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkin's "The Peacemakers" in 2017 as part of MCS Spring Concert "Peace, Triumphant Peace. "

Tramm also serves as Director of Music in Residence of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for the past 11 years, where he leads the choral, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the 6500-seat historic Great Auditorium, appearing in two National Public Radio broadcasts with organ virtuoso, Gordon Turk and orchestra. The 2009 HDTV broadcast presentation with PBS affiliate NJN, "Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove" with Tramm at the podium, garnered a regional Emmy Award nomination.

Tramm is an Assistant Professor at Seton Hall University, College of Communication and the Arts where he leads the University Choir, the Chamber Choir and teaches voice and conducting. Tramm currently serves as principal conductor of the MidAtlantic Opera with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut.

A frequent guest conductor, Tramm has led operatic and symphonic performances in Italy, Romania, Albania, and in Hungary, where he recorded an album of rarely heard French operatic arias with the Szeged Symphony.  He was Guest Conductor for the Narnia Festival (Narni, Italy) during the 2017 season.   Guest conducting/Masterclass engagements for the 2018 season include the Adelphi Orchestra, the Long Island Concert Orchestra, The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, Light Opera of New Jersey, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.