Arts & Entertainment

Morris Choral Society to present Rebirth and Renewal: A Celebration of Spring” on Saturday May 12th in Morristown

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MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morris Choral Society concludes its 45th Anniversary year with a grand season finale concert “Rebirth and Renewal: A Celebration of Spring” on Saturday May 12th at 8PM at the historic Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown, New Jersey.

Noted American conductor and MCS Music Director Jason Tramm leads an inspired program “Rebirth and Renewal: A Celebration of Spring” featuring the 70-voice Morris Choral Society and the MidAtlantic Chamber Ensemble in works by French romanticist Gabriel Faure, and contemporary composers Dan Forrest, Ola Gjeilo, Morten Lauridsen and Gwyneth Walker as well as renown 20th century American masters Samuel Barber and Randall Thompson.

Distinguished operatic and concert artists mezzo soprano Maya Hoover and baritone Jonathan Scott and organist (and MCS accompanist) Michael Shane Wittenburg will be soloists in the first half of the concert, which features Gabriel Faure’s masterwork composed for two solo voices, chorus, organ, and orchestra. Praised for her outstanding artistry, “vocal beauty of high technical caliber,” and “vocal flare and flamenco abandon,” mezzo-soprano Maya Hoover is widely recognized for her passion, profundity, and depth on stage. She has recently been featured in concerts with renowned soprano Sumi Jo and the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra (HSO); Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra (Colorado); The Magic Flute (Second Lady) and Il Trovatore (Inez) with Hawai‘i Opera Theatre (HOT); gala concerts with Opera NEO (San Diego); recitals in Vernon, France and throughout China; and concerts with Artists for Social Justice Hawai‘i. In 2018 she appears as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly (Opera Ft. Collins) and Mercédès in Carmen (Axelrod Performing Arts Center, NJ). In June, she will be a featured artist with the Art Song Preservation Society of New York in a program of all Latin American art song with her musical partner of more than twenty years, pianist José Meléndez.

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Baritone Jonathan Scott has been praised by opera's foremost publication OPERA NEWS for his comic role in Von Winter's Das Labyrinth (an operatic sequel to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte) OPERA NEWS wrote "Jonathan Scott was an ideal Papageno, with excellent diction, an easy stage presence and flawless legato that poured forth through a well-projected tone." Parterre Box, NYC's preeminent online opera publication also underscored the merit of Scott's performance: "The star, in Schikaneder's feathers, was Jonathan Scott, a baritone of lithe and masculine tone and a master of the dim double-take, suavely dressed in tatterdemalion.”

 A graduate of Westminster College, Jonathan frequently performs opera, oratorio and art song in the NYC- Tri-state region. He has sung in many of New York City's most celebrated concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and The Riverside Church in Manhattan. He is currently a member of the Metropolitan Opera Extra Men's Chorus, with whom he won a 2013 Grammy for Best Opera Recording in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen

Internationally, Scott sang the title role of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in his Italian debut at the 2017 Narnia Festival; where he performed in several festival concert offerings, including a feature presentation by Italian television (Rai - Radiotelevisione) of Mozart's Spatzenmesse performed at the Cathedral at Narni, as well as an evening concert of opera arias, singing Verdi's exquisite baritone aria from LA TRAVIATIA "Di provenza il mar il suol."

Invoking the essence of Spring the concert will explore themes of ‘rebirth and renewal’ in the works of  Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (Across the Vast Eternal Sky) and celebrated American contemporary composers Dan Forrest (Abide) Morten Lauridsen (Lux Aeternum) and Gwyneth Walker (I will be Earth) and as well as in the compositions by renown 20th century American masters Samuel Barber (Sure on this Shining Night) and Randall Thompson (selections from Frostiana).

Special guest appearances by frequent MCS collaborators, the Clarum Sonum Choir, led by CS Artistic Director and conductor Rider Foster, as well as the beloved MCS sextet ensemble, Express Male, will complete a program designed to inspire and delight.

 

ABOUT THE MORRIS CHORAL SOCIETY

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 or to purchase tickets visit www.morrischoralsociety.org.

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