Community Happenings

Morris Choral Society’s “Holiday Spectacular” Concert set for December 9 and 10 at the Bickford Theatre

MCS Music Director Jason Tramm leads the Morris Choral Society in Holiday Spectacular at the Bickford Theatre Credits: Morris Choral Society

Morris Choral Society’s “Holiday Spectacular” Concert set for December 9 and 10 at the Bickford Theatre

The Morris Choral Society heralds the Holidays with an annual Morristown concert tradition in two performances, Saturday December 9th at 8PM and Sunday December 10th at 3PM at the historic Bickford Theater at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey.

Now in his second season as Music Director, noted conductor Jason Tramm leads the Morris Choral Society in a concert program featuring Christmas works by master composers through the ages and popular holiday classics from the modern era. The seventy-member strong Morris choral Society will perform selections from Camille Saint-Saens’s Christmas Oratorio (“Glory to God in the Highest,” “Praise ye the Lord of Hosts”) and John Rutter’s Magnificat (“Magnificat anima mea”, “Of a Rose, A Lovely Rose”and “Gloria Patri”).  Special concert appearances will showcase the young Jamaican virtuoso, cellist Khadeem Leslie. Mr. Leslie joins the MCS as guest soloist in the performance of Ola Gjeilo’s “Serenity” from Geilo’s O Magnum Mysterium.  "Resounding Joy" will also feature two compositions written and conducted by Conductor Laureate R. Wayne Walters, founder and past director of the Morris Choral Society.  "There Shall Come Forth" and "A Shepherd's Tale" are part of R. Wayne Walters’ Christmas cycle entitled "Anthems for the Season of Christmas.”

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Over 50 residents of Morris County who are members of the Morris Choral Society will participate in the tradition which first began 14 years ago following two sold-out performances of the first Holiday Spectacular in 2003. Eric Hafen, artistic director of the Bickford Theatre, invited the chorus to return each December - establishing the tradition of a series of family concerts featuring holiday music from around the world. Participating in “Holiday Spectacular: Resounding Joy” are Joanne Cuomo from Bud Lake, Roberta Foster from Cedar Knolls, Kathleen Havens from Chatham; Paula Blake Collier from Convent Station; Jaime Crowley, Carolann Nexon and Concepta Savage from Denville; Helena Alohaneke, Ingrid Brusky; Christina Buck, Ellen Callanan and  Anita Crompton from Dover; Audrey Wells from Flanders; Donna Anderle, Gloria Anderle and Audrey Sveningsen from Landing; Maureen Brown from Long Valley; Rick Munez and Petra Schemmann from Madison; Rosemary Agrista from Meyersville; Carole Andreou from Montville; Judy Bjorklund, Arlene Inglis, Linda Larkin, Vincent Marchese, Mary Ellen O'Shaughnessy, Ann Walters, R. Wayne Walters and Laurie Washco from Morris Plains; Enid Edelson, Joen Luy Ferrari, Robert Kennaday, Carol Kenneday, Dale Leppard, Rachel Matthews, Bernard Maxim, Ken Rapp and Lou Ann Woerner from Morristown; David Goodstein, Elena Marie from Mount Arlington;  Dan Bozza and Alicia Bozza from Mount Tabor;  Rosemary Messineo and Bill Walter from Oak Ridge; Will Eyerman from Parsippany; Karen Krekel from Pompton Plains; Wendy Schramm; Audrey Schultz, Barbara Stramberg, Susan Waldman and Linda Wraith from Randolpf; Diane Pezzuti from Riverdale; Salomi Massaras, Anthony Nedo, Tom Riker and Cathy Rusyniak from Rockaway; Carolyn Truax from Succasunna; and Lisa Gonzales from Whippany.

The “Holiday Spectacular” concerts are designed to engage a multi-generational, family oriented audience tradition and concert goers will find the Bickford Theatre venue (and Morris Museum) a holiday destination of choice for families with special needs. The Bickford Theatre and Museum are well regarded for their best practices in accommodating audiences of all ages with accessibility needs. The intimate 312 seat Bickford Theatre is completely wheelchair accessible from the parking lot to one’s seat. Parking spaces for people with disabilities are located in the first row of spaces directly next to the Museum. From the parking area, there is a wheelchair accessible sidewalk that leads to the main Museum entrance and parking is free for all. Inside the theater a limited number of spaces are set aside to accommodate wheelchair viewing. Restrooms are conveniently located near the theater entrance. For the hearing impaired, assistive listening devices are available on a first come first served basis. If needed, large print programs are available to facilitate reading.  Patrons wishing to reserve wheelchair locations or aisle seats, or who have any special needs, should mention their needs to the box office when ordering tickets (Bickford Theatre Box Office 973-971-3706)  One can even take a virtual tour of the Bickford Theatre in advance of the concert by accessing the virtual tour link.

The equally anticipated second half of this years’ “Holiday Spectacular: Resounding Joy” continues with a song set sung by audience favorite, Express Male, the Morris Choral Society’s men’s chamber ensemble and will feature members of the Morris Knolls High School Choral Program in popular songs of the season featuring such high-spirited favorites “Dashing Through the Snow- A Jingle Bell Spectacular!” by John Leavitt and “Hiney Mah Tov” by Iris Levine.

Always a highlight, the MCS will engage the audience in the traditional “Annual Holiday Sing Along” and will conclude the concert with George Frideric Handel’s beloved “Hallelujah Chorus from his masterwork, The Messiah, composed in 1741. The most famous piece of sacred music in the English language, Messiah gained widespread popularity only during the final years of Handel’s life, in the late 1750s, but it remains one of the best-known musical works of the Baroque period more than two centuries later. 

As an aside, according to British colonial records, the first permanent European settlement at Morristown occurred in 1715 and Morris County’s was officially recognized on March 15, 1739, events pre-dating Handel’s “Messiah” premiere in 1742 by 27 years. The first complete US performance of Handel’s Messiah took place in Boston in 1818.


The Morris Choral Society, 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 the Morris Choral Society (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 2016 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 historical Holly Walk, its popular Fall 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 Mayo Performing Arts Center. 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. Since 2010 the Morris Choral Society sponsors an annual scholarship open to New Jersey residents or students currently attending a New Jersey school, age 19 or older who are pursuing a major or course of study in one of the following disciplines: vocal performance, vocal conducting, or music education with a major in voice.

MCS is home to the popular sextet, Express Male a lively, fun-filled sextet with a dazzling repertoire consisting of serious choral pieces, traditional gospel songs, Broadway favorites and a variety of popular tunes. Formed four years ago as an independent vocal ensemble within The Morris Choral Society, Express Male continues to entertain audiences at major MCS concerts and is featured in concerts throughout the region.

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


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, Chamber Choir and teaches voice and conducting.

Tramm currently serves as conductor and Artistic Advisor for the Adelphi Orchestra and principal conductor of the MidAtlantic Opera with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015. A frequent guest conductor, Maestro Tramm has led operatic and symphonic performances in Albania, Hungary, Italy and Romania, recently returning from the 2017 Narnia Festival where he led the Festival's premiere productions of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.  On October 27, 2017 Tramm conducted the classical concert "Prayer for Peace: The Power of One Voice" at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) featuring the MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra, The Seton Hall University Chorus and members of the Morris Choral Society with featured soloists soprano Allison Charney; baritone Mark Delavan, tenor Adam Klein and mezzo soprano Karolina Pilou of the Metropolitan Opera, and acclaimed violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins. On December 15th Tramm will be found at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall conducting in the National Chorale’s 49th Annual Messiah Sing Along.


Morris Choral Society

Holiday Spectacular XV: Resounding Joy” at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum

6 Normandy Heights Road
Morristown, NJ 07960
Saturday, December 9, 8:00PM
Sunday, December 10, 3:00PM

Ticket Prices: $25 General Public, $20 Seniors/ Members of Morris Museum and Theatre Guild; $15 Students (18 & under or with valid college ID) Tickets available online at or by calling the Bickford Theatre Box Office 973-971-3706




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