Black Swamp Honor Choir & Oscar Jones Choral Festival

A tradition for nearly 50 years, the Oscar Jones Choral Festival is a three-day festival, culminating in a Sunday afternoon concert that features the choirs at Defiance College, the Black Swamp Honor Choir (BSHC), and a visiting ensemble. Visiting ensembles range from professional choral groups to local vocal ensembles, and participating ensembles perform their own selections, as well as an opening and closing piece together. The festival takes place on the final Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday in October. 

Registration for the 2023 Black Swamp Honor Choir is open! The dates are Thursday, October 19; Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22. Please click here to register.

2023 BSHC Schedule:
Thursday, 10/19: Defiance College Campus, Dana Hall, Schomburg Auditorium

  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Check-in and Social, light refreshments provided
  • 7:00 - 9:00 pm: BSHC Rehearsal, Schomburg Auditorium

Saturday, 10/21:  Defiance College Campus, Dana Hall, Schomburg Auditorium

  • 9:00 am: Soloist Auditions
  • 9:30 am: Check-in - Dana Hall
  • 10am - 12:30 pm: BSHC Rehearsal, Schomburg Auditorium
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm: Lunch (provided in DC Dining Hall)
  • 1:45 - 3:45 pm: BSHC Rehearsal, Schomburg Auditorium
  • 4:00 - 5:30 pm: Combined Choirs Rehearsal, Schomburg Auditorium

Sunday, 10/22: St. John United Church of Christ, 950 Webster Street, Defiance

  • 12:30 - 2:00 pm: Black Swamp Honor Choir Rehearsal
  • 2:15 - 3:15 pm: Combined Choirs Rehearsal
  • 3:30 - 4:15 pm: DC College Choir Rehearsal, BSHC Break to Change
  • 5:00 pm: Concert

The cost per student for this event is $30 and includes the following:

  • Sheet music and practice tracks
  • T-shirt
  • Lunch on Saturday 
  • 1 comp ticket to the Sunday concert (additional tickets available for $12)

About Black Swamp Honor Choir
The Black Swamp Honor Choir is a choir comprised of excellent high school singers from throughout Northwest Ohio. Singers are selected based on recommendations from their high school choral director or homeschool music teacher. They come together for a short and intense rehearsal period and are the headliner ensemble of the Oscar Jones Choral Festival. The Black Swamp Honor Choir gives young singers an opportunity to sing challenging repertoire with classmates and new friends alike, as well as collegiate and often professional singers. The cost for participation is $30 and includes sheet music, refreshments on rehearsal days, lunch on Saturday, a t-shirt, and one complimentary ticket to our concert. 

About W. Oscar Jones:
W. Oscar Jones was a native of Venedocia, a Welsh community known for its fine choral music traditions. 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 capella choir at Defiance High School, which was later chosen to represent Ohio's contribution to a series of Music and American Youth, a nationwide broadcast on NBC. Jones took his advocacy for the choral arts one step further by serving as president of the Ohio Music Educators Association from 1940 - 1943. His 14 years in Defiance, as well as his remaining years spent in Findlay, Ohio, were honored upon his retirement in 1961 with the receipt of the OMEA distinguished service award. 
Defiance College honors him with a choral festival in his name for his many contributions to the Defiance Community and the choral arts.