Oberlin Musical Union

Parkorn Wangpaiboonkit, manager
Travis Gu, pianist

Oberlin Musical Union Celebrates 175th Year with Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor

Nov. 16, 2012

OBERLIN, OHIO — An enduring institution that brings together musical artistry and community, the Oberlin Musical Union plans to celebrate its 175th anniversary by bringing Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor to the stage. This will be performed in collaboration with the Oberlin Orchestra under the baton of Musical Union Director Jason Harris. The December 9 concert will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Finney Chapel. Featured soloists include Oberlin voice faculty members Salvatore Champagne, tenor, and Timothy LeFebvre, bass, in addition to soprano voice alumnae Ellie Dehn ’02 and Marcy Stonikas ’02. Admission is free and tickets are not required.

Founded in 1837, Oberlin Musical Union is the second-oldest community chorus in the country, focusing exclusively on masterworks of choral-symphonic repertoire. “The ensemble provides a wonderful opportunity for the community,” Director Jason Harris says, “and the concert on December 9 features one of Mozart’s most famous and beautiful works.”

“This is music that simply isn’t found outside of major cities—the large, truly massive, orchestral works,” Harris adds. In addition to directing MU, Harris serves as assistant professor of choral conducting and director of choral ensembles. He joined the Oberlin Conservatory faculty in 2011.

Ann Craig, who has been singing with the Musical Union since the 1950s, explains what keeps her returning year after year. “It has been the allure of particular music and the chance to learn something new that continues to draw me back. It’s a thrill to sing rousing music in a large group.”

The Oberlin Musical Union, originally named the Oberlin Musical Association, was founded in 1837 when seven Oberlin students petitioned the faculty to form a musical group. This took place within the context of a shift from the non-accompanied psalm singing of the colonial era towards classical sacred music. The group sang medleys of classical and secular-popular songs; during the Civil War, the concerts included patriotic pieces. Eventually, instrumentation was added to the association, and has evolved into the collaboration of choral and instrumental ensemble of today. The union no longer performs the popular works of the past, but continues the tradition of playing large-scale pieces, pulling from composers such as Haydn, Beethoven, Orff, and in the case of this year’s concert, Mozart.

The Musical Union rehearses from 7:15–9:30 pm on Mondays at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Fact Sheet

Oberlin Musical Union, 175th Anniversary Celebration Concert With the Oberlin Orchestra

Sunday, December 9, 2012, 8 p.m. Finney Chapel, 90 North Professor Street Oberlin, Ohio 44074

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Great Mass in C Minor

Jason Harris, conductor

Salvatore Champagne, tenor

Timothy LeFebvre, bass

Ellie Dehn ’02, soprano

Marcy Stonikas ’02, soprano


MU Resources

Synopsis of the December 9, 2012 concert:

From Dr. Harris: "we will perform Mozart's C minor mass on December 9 with the Oberlin Orchestra and a special group of soloists. This is one of the first works I prepared when I was starting out as a conductor and it holds a very special place in my heart. It is quintessential Mozart, quintessential classical era choral music, quintessential beauty and fire, and I cannot wait to share it with you. If you are unfamiliar with the work here are a few recordings that I would recommend:

Neville Marriner, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields:

Philippe Herreweghe, La Chapelle Royale

John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir

Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Chorus

The website cyberbass.com has a great tool for assisting us with learning all of the notes in this magnificent work. Click on this link and you will be directed to a site where you will be able to hear a midi recording of your own part played by itself. It is an indispensable tool and I hope you use it often.

We will perform the HC Robbins Landon edition published by Peters. For unknown reasons we do not possess a complete version of this mass, so there are a number of completions out there in the world that attempt a reconstruction of Mozart's unfinished sketches [see the Wikipedia article linked above]. The edition we will perform from contains none of the reconstructions so you only need worry about the following movements when consulting the website: Kyrie, Gloria, Gratias, Qui tollis, Jesu Christe-Cum sancto spiritu, Credo, Sanctus, and the final Osanna. Anything else listed on the site is either a solo or a reconstruction.

We will be auditioning new singers throughout the month of September, so I hope you will assist us with this task. Here is a flyer that you may post anywhere you feel will attract the most potential singers. Get the word out! We have been working hard to get audition information beyond the walls of Oberlin all summer and so far we have received a great number of responses, but we can never have too many singers. We have such a wonderful tradition of choral singing here at Oberlin, and we should certainly share this legacy with as many of our dear friends as possible.

Score markings for Mozart's Mass in C minor:

"Dr. Jimbob's" notes on this mass

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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.