Delaware Choral Society to present ‘The Creation’

Delaware Choral Society members rehearse Haydn’s “The Creation” with a full orchestra in anticipation of Sunday’s performance at Dover High School on Del. 8. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Muller)

DOVER – The holiday season will be celebrated by the Delaware Choral Society Sunday with Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation.”

The nonprofit, volunteer-based Choral Society holds two concerts each year, and the winter concert has traditionally featured Handel’s “Messiah,” but it is debuting “The Creation” this year.

“Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is a lovely and familiar piece that is done almost yearly in every American city, but ‘The Creation’ is one of the greatest works of the 19th century and I believe people will love it once they hear it,” said Dr. James Wilson, director of the Choral Society.

“The Creation” was written 60 years after “Messiah” and includes a broader stylistic range containing orchestral colors and expressions that foreshadow Beethoven and other romantic composers.

“I prefer singing classical music like we typically have at the winter concerts,” said John Vanderpool of Dover. “I’ve always loved choir music and singing with this group was the perfect opportunity for me.”

Mr. Vanderpool has been a member of the Choral Society for three years and joined after a friend suggested it. He says the group has become more than he imagined.

“There’s a lot of perks for recreational singers here,” he said. “For instance, we have a very high-level director, we learn new music and are always improving technique.”

Dr. Wilson is a professor at Wesley College and has been leading the group for eight years.

Baritone Paul Corujo will be one of three soloists at the Delaware Choral Society performance Sunday at Dover High School. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Muller)

“The Choral Society is the only organization in Kent County that does choral orchestral masterworks of this magnitude,” he said. “I keep coming back because I really enjoy the people and the music we rehearse and play together.”

Many Choral Society members return year after year simply for the love of music.

“I sang in my high school choir and sing in my church choir and some friends suggested I join the Choral Society,” said Bruce Lorenz of Milford. “It’s a good group of folks and we’re always facing and conquering new challenges together.”

Since the group is made up of recreational singers, most do not receive consistent training, so Dr. Wilson’s role doubles as director and teacher.

“Rehearsals sometimes act as group voice lessons. As we learn the notes and rhythms, we also work on techniques that help to improve our tone and resonance. These are many of the same techniques that a singer would be taught in private voice lessons,” he said.

And the voices aren’t the only things that have to come together to pull off the masterworks the Choral Society performs. In this concert’s case, a large orchestra is required, which brings in new people and more elements to consider.

Tickets for Sunday’s performance of “The Creation” are $10 to $20 and available at or at the door. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Muller)

“Dr. Wilson is very clear in what he wants and we are all experienced musicians. But it’s great learning and playing new pieces,” said Sherry Roscoe, of Viola, an accompanist to the Choral Society.

She has played the piano since age 9 and been performing with the Choral Society for six years.

“I definitely prefer working with an ensemble or large group like this,” she said. “There’s a great sense of community and new challenges to work through with every new piece.”

“It takes a whole team of people to handle the logistics of putting on a performance with 120 singers and instrumentalists. After months of planning and rehearsing, it is enormously gratifying to hear everything come together in the final performance,” Dr. Wilson said.

Sunday’s performance will also include soloists Jessica Beebe, James Reese, and Paul Corujo. It will take place at 4 p.m. at Dover High School. Tickets are $10 to $20 and available at or at the door.

If you’re interested in classical holiday tunes instead of masterworks, the Choral Society will perform holiday music alongside the Wesley College Choir, the Kent Chamber Choir and the Delaware Youth Chorale on Satuirday at 5 p.m. at Wesley’s Bennett Chapel on Division Street in Dover.

Admission is free.

Ashton Brown is a freelance writer living in Dover.

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