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  • Honoring the Morris Choral Society in Morristown

    by Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

    Posted on 2013-02-05

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    FRELINGHUYSEN of new jersey in the house of representatives Tuesday, February 5, 2013 Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Morris Choral Society of Morristown, New Jersey, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the summer of 2013.



    The creation of the Morris Choral Society can be likened to that of the birth of a Phoenix bird. Tragically, in 1972, the United Methodist Church, located on the Morristown Green, burned down and as a result the proceeding Methodist congregations were held at Temple B'nai Or for the next two years as the Church was rebuilt. R. Wayne Walters, a bass soloist who performed at both the Temple and Church, decided to conduct a special Friday evening service dedicated to the generosity of the Temple and its Rabbi, Z. David Levy. In order to perform this service, chorus members from the surrounding area churches were assembled. Due to the success of the performance, Rabbi Levy asked Walters to keep this wonderful group of people together and continue performing. Eventually, under Walters's leadership, this collection of singers was incorporated under the name of Morris Choral Society in the summer of 1973, effectively rising out of the ashes and spawning a new organization.

    Since the society has been formed, it has maintained a dual mission statement attempting, ``To make available to all residents of the Morris area varied choral musical programs and to give residents an opportunity to perform in the choral organization.'' Those who have been affected by the Morris Choral Society would say that its contributions to society have gone much farther than initially intended by positively impacting the choral outlook throughout Northern New Jersey. Additionally, MCS has garnered much public attention through appearances on television programs, such as NBC's ``First Estate'' program, and its two major concerts that are performed in Morris County each year. Through continuing interest, the society has grown in size and is open to new members via auditions.

    Furthermore, the Morris Choral Society conducts numerous, smaller performances during Morristown's holidays and special occasions. These shows generally occur during the Independence Day celebrations, the Holly Walk, the Fall Festival on the Green, and the First Night concert. Incredibly, MCS is now internationally recognized after memorable performances in England in 1990, Ireland in 1994, Scotland & Wales in 1996, France in 1998, and Italy during the summer of 2000. Through international travel and a growing interest in different music, the Society has obtained an astounding repertoire of songs dating from the Renaissance period to the present.

    Besides annual events, the Morris Choral Society has performed alongside many famous musicians during its lifetime. Unforgettable nights include performing with Judy Collins during her Christmas Show, and with Dave Brubeck in La Fiesta de la Posada in the Community Theatre. MCS has also sung Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under the celebrated Leon Hyman, collaborated with Jazz Pianist Rio Clemente, and performed a sold-out concert at the Morristown Community Theater in front of over 1,300 viewers.

    Consistently trying to excel, the Society has emphasized versatility in music styles ranging from contemporary American, to classical Broadway theatre, to even some international folk songs articulated in their native languages. Expanding to different venues and compiling diversified music is what keeps MCS ahead of most other musical organizations in the area.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask you and your colleagues to join me in congratulating the Morris Choral Society as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

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