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Black Swamp Honors Choir and Pride of Toledo Sweet Adelines featured at Defiance College Choral Festival on Nov. 2

October 24, 2014


DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College music programs will present the annual W. Oscar Jones Choral Festival on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 4 and 6 p.m. at St. John United Church of Christ, 950 Webster St. The performances will feature five choral ensembles including the DC Choral Union, DC Chamber Singers, DC Men’s Chorus, Black Swamp Honors Choir, and the Pride of Toledo Sweet Adelines Barbershop Chorus.

The performances are focused around the Black Swamp Honors Choir, a high school honors choir featuring 85 students from eleven area schools including Ayersville, Bryan, Defiance, Edon, Fairview, Lakota, Montpelier, North Central, Paulding, Tinora, and Wauseon. In its fifth year of existence, the honors choir will perform three selections as well as a piece with the DC Women’s Chorus and another with the Sweet Adelines. The concert will open and close with combined choirs singing two patriotic numbers in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.

Three conductors will be featured during the performance. Andrew Schultz, director of music programs at Defiance College and founder of the Black Swamp Honors Choir, will conduct the DC Choral Union and Chamber Singers along with the Black Swamp Honors Choir. The DC Men’s Chorus will be conducted by RD Mathey, a choral conductor for 40-plus years with tremendous experience working with choirs and specifically men’s voices. The Pride of Toledo Chorus is conducted by Kay Seymour, an icon in the barbershop community.

The choir festival is named for retired music director W. Oscar Jones. With degrees from Miami University and New York University, Jones began at Defiance High School in 1926. He founded four groups including senior boys and senior girls glees, junior girls glee and mixed chorus. As his reputation grew, he branched out to the community founding the Ladies Choral Society, Defiance Civic Male Chorus and choirs at Defiance College. Jones directed musicals at the high school and college while also serving as director of music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

In 1934, Jones established the first a cappella choir at Defiance High School which was chosen to represent Ohio’s contribution to the series “Music and American Youth,” a nationwide broadcast on NBC. Jones took his advocacy for the choral art one step further by serving as president for the Ohio Music Educators Association from 1941 to 1943. His 14 years in Defiance as well as his remaining years spent in Findlay were honored upon his retirement in 1961 with the receipt of the OMEA distinguished-service award.

Tickets are $10. Reservations are recommended and can be made in advance by calling Carolyn Gilgenbach at 419-783-2462.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is