Fine and Performing Arts
Welcome to CSU Chorus
Since its founding, Central State University has maintained a long tradition of choral excellence with Dr. Charles Wesley as president in 1947. From the tours organized and arranged by Dr. Wesley, the first president of Central State University and Mrs. Beatrice O’Rourke, one of the choir directors, to the performances that featured Leontyne Price and Roberta Alexander, the choral tradition has always been outstanding. Directors have included Beatrice O’Rourke, Samuel Roberson, Oscar Henry, and Arthur Herndon. Even then, the group performed often with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and with James Levine and the Cincinnati May Festival. The Chorus also combined with Cedarville University for performances of Mendelssohn’s Oratorio Elijah.
Vocal music has played an essential role in the history of Central State University. Located in historic Wilberforce, Ohio, Central State University has served as a launching pad for many outstanding singers of international renown including Leontyne Price, Roberta Alexander, and Nancy Wilson. The main Chorus consists of more than one hundred students from all academic disciplines of the University and has a repertoire encompassing all periods and styles including Black Gospel music.
The Chorus has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cincinnati and Indianapolis Pops Orchestras. The Chorus appears on several Telarc International CD recordings: The Best of Erich Kunzel, Gershwin Centennial Edition, Play Ball, Blue Monday, Porgy and Bess, and Amen: A Gospel Celebration which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1994.
The Central State University Chorus opened the 2002 May Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio with Maestro James Conlon conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Done Made My Vow by Adolphus Hailstork. In January 2003, the Chorus performed with Franz Welser Möst, the newly appointed conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall and continues to perform with them annually. In 2001, the group traveled to Europe and performed in England and France and in 2007, the Chorus returned to Europe to perform in Venice, Florence, and Rome at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XIX. In November 2009 the Chorus travelled to Passau, Germany and Salzburg, Austria as part of Interkultur the sponsors for the World Choir Olympics scheduled for 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
James Smith, Chairperson
Paul Robeson Cultural & Performing Arts Center, Room 218
Audio clips of the world-renowned, Grammy Central State University Chorus are available. All of the following clips are downloadable in MP3 format and easily played in any MP3 player.
|Seek the Lord, arr. Glenn Jones
|His Eye is on the Sparrow, arr. James Arthur Williams
|The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God, arr. Franz Joseph Haydn