Defiance College Choral Festival this Sunday, Nov. 6

November 1, 2016 

DEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance College Music Programs will present the W. Oscar Jones Choral Festival on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at St. John United Church of Christ, 950 Webster St.

The performances will feature five choral ensembles: DC Choral Union, DC Chamber Singers, Black Swamp Honors Choir, Junior Choral Society, and the combined choruses. Tickets for the event are $10. Reservations are recommended and can be made in advance by calling Jim Watson at 419-783-2331.

The program is built around an Ohio premiere of Dan Forrest's Jubilate Deo, as performed by the DC choirs. In addition, the Black Swamp Honors Choir, a high school honors choir featuring 60 students from eleven area schools, performs works by Palestrina, Handel, and Erb. Now in its seventh year, the honors choir will perform choral masterworks. The concert concludes with all groups singing Copland's Promise of Living with four-hand piano accompaniment.

Jim Watson, Director of Music Programs at Defiance College and conductor of the Black Swamp Honors Choir, will also lead the DC Choral Union and Chamber Singers. Dr. Watson is in his first year in his role at Defiance College. Duane Beck leads the Junior Choral Society, a distinguished treble chorus from Pettisville.

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 in 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.

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