Defiance College to host annual W. Oscar Jones Choral Festival

October 30, 2018

DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Defiance College Music Programs will present the W. Oscar Jones Choral Festival on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the St. John United Church of Christ on the Defiance College campus. The choirs sing two identical performances at 5 and 7 p.m.

The W. Oscar Jones Choral Festival features the DC Chamber Singers, the Choral Union, the Black Swamp High School Honors Choir, and this year’s guest chorus, the Northwesternaires men’s barbershop chorus. This is the ninth year for the festival.

The DC Chamber Singers is a student-populated choral ensemble that performs through Northwest Ohio. The DC Choral Union is a large choral ensemble open to students and community members. Both choirs perform a varied program of beloved choral favorites and diverse works.

The Black Swamp High School Honors Choir is an auditioned choral ensemble from area high schools. Students meet for an intensive rehearsal schedule, then combine forces for this weekend's special event. The choirs are under the direction of Camille Lively, assistant director of music programs at DC.

The Northwesternaires chorus is conducted by Jim Shisler, an icon in the barbershop community who has been with the chorus for more than 40 years.

This year's program features a varied mix of repertoire including familiar pieces from Greatest Showman, Disney's Coco, and Broadway favorite, Ragtime, as well as world folk music such as Gamaya by young American composer Paul John Rudoi, and Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie, by Huddie Ledbetter.

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.

Tickets for Sunday’s performances are $10, and may be purchased at the door. Seating is general admission with first come, first served.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. The College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The College website is