Oberlin Musical Union

Founded in 1837, the 140-voice Oberlin Musical Union is the second-oldest continuing choral tradition in the United States. (Only Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, founded in 1815, represents a longer ongoing tradition.) This group performs the great works for chorus and orchestra. Recent presentations include Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, Orff's Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Creation, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem Mass, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

The Musical Union is a unique opportunity for Oberlin community members to join with Oberlin College musicians in performing these works. Typically, MU performs one concert a semester, rehearsing Monday evenings through the academic calendar. Concerts are performed in Finney Chapel with the College Orchestra. MU rehearses with Dr. Gregory Ristow, Director of Vocal Ensembles of the Oberlin Conservatory.

On stage in Finney Chapel

Photo by John Seyfried.

The Musical Union was founded by George Nelson Allen, who transferred to Oberlin Collegiate Institute in 1836, after finding his "liberal views on reform and theology" in conflict with those held at Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio. While still a student here, Allen was appointed Instructor in Science of Music, and he needed a choir.

Planning on joining? Please let us know you're coming by clicking here

If you know other singers who should be singing with us -- maybe those who've sung in the past but not recently, singers you know from a church or community choir, or that guy who's always humming beautifully at Slow Train -- please reach out to them, give them my email (gristow [AT] oberlin.edu), and encourage them to join us for a delightful year of music making.

You are our greatest recruitment tool, and so I hope you will do all you can to bring in as many people as possible in the next few weeks.

Can't make it to our concert? Listen to it live! or Purchase a CD recording.

MU Resources

Spring, 2017

April 30, 2017

Francis Poulenc, Gloria
CV Stanford:
Farewell My Joy (Op. 119, #2)
Heraclitus (Op. 110, #4)
Quick, We Have but a Second
The Haven (Op. 127, #4)
The Blue Bird (Op. 119, #3)
Peace, Come Away 

Past Performances:

December 4, 2016

Orff: Carmina Burana

October 29, 2016

Jean Langlais, Messe Solennelle

Francis Poulenc, Stabat Mater, OC Choir
organ works by Langlais

December 6, 2015

Bernstein, Chichester Psalms
Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms


May 3, 2015

English Choral Works

Dr. Jason Harris, conducting

Scott VanOrnum, organ

December 7, 2014

Brahams Tragic Overture;
Mozart Requiem

Arts & Sciences Orchestra,
Oberlin College Choir and MU
Dr. Jason Harris, conducting
Meryl Dominguez, soprano
Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano
Daniel McGrew, tenor
Aaron Keeney, bass

May 4, 2014

Brahams, Schicksalslied
Beethoven Mass in C

Oberlin College Choir,
Dr. Jason Harris, conducting

Arts and Sciences Orchestra,
Dr. Philip Highfill, conducting
Alyssa Hensel, soprano
Marisa Novak, alto
Daniel King, tenor
Eric Fischer, bass

A Wagner and Verdi Celebration Concert

December 8, 2013

Oberlin Musical Union
Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor

Requiem, Maurice Duruflé

May 5, 2013

Oberlin Musical Union
Scott VanOrnum, organist
Jason Harris, conductor

Mass in C minor, K. 427, Mozart

December 9, 2012

Jason Harris, conductor; Salvatore Champagne, tenor
Timothy LeFebvre, bass; Ellie Dehn ’02, soprano
Marcy Stonikas ’02, soprano

"Stirring...pulled it off with joy." -- the Oberlin Review.

"the performance really soared" -- Nick Jones, ClevelandClassical.com

Brahms: Nänie, Op. 82
Sibelius: Finlandia, Op.26
Prokofiev: Aleksandr Nevskiy, Op. 78

May 6, 2012


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Musical Union rehearses Monday nights from 7:15-9:30pm onstage in Finney Chapel or other locations as announced. Musical Union is open to all who wish to join, student or community resident alike.