Greater South Jersey ChorusAbout Us
GSJC Director, Chris Thomas
Greetings to our GSJC family and friends!
The Greater South Jersey Chorus will sing an enticing variety of music this year, ranging from light-filled works for the holidays, amusing early spring events, and the May presentation of a deeply moving contemporary work. I expect the year will demand much from the singers and yield breathtaking results for the benefit of our loyal audience as well as chorus members. This year brings the retirement of our assistant conductor, Ken Ewan, and we’ll welcome a new member to our artistic staff.
Art McKenzie, adjunct professor of music at Rowan University, has assumed responsibilities for rehearsing and conducting the Chamber Singers. After 25 years with GSJC, Ken Ewan will make his final appearance in the December concerts. Ken’s steadfast devotion to our chorus is exemplified by his readiness to provide musical leadership whenever needed, and he always sought to make our singers better musicians. His many contributions will long be appreciated.
I am pleased to reveal our various events and concerts for GSJC’s 2017-2018 season. First will be the Artists Showcase in October. Our trained chorus members will perform mostly solo repertoire from the classical tradition. You’ll hear heavenly arias and lovely art songs, as well as harmonious duets and instrumental presentations.
The centerpieces for our 2017 holiday concert, Season of Light, are Ottorino Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity, a celebratory and meditative prelude to the Christmas season, and Kenneth Lampl’s shimmering Jerusalem. Additional music in the program includes “The Chanukah Song—We Are Lights” by Stephen Schwartz, who composed music for Godspell and Wicked; “Veni, Veni Emmanuel”; “A Spotless Rose”; and a rousing rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
In March you’ll have an opportunity to join us for our eighth annual Cabaret. It’s a fun-filled evening of popular music from stage, screen, and radio, with a steady flow of delectable treats and humor. Bring your friends and some good wine and have a ball!
Vino Forte is returning! This year it will be held at Laurita Winery in April in nearby New Egypt. This chorus fundraiser will bring the hilarity of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury together with fabulous wine and cheese pairings, a raffle, and tempting silent auction items. Join us for this thoroughly enjoyable and financially beneficial event.
For the spring finale, we will present Annelies, the inspiring story of Anne Frank, told in her own words. Composed by James Whitbourn, this extraordinary contemporary work displays young Anne’s understanding of the possibilities in life and love, and the monumental sadness of inhumanity and loss. Together, her words and his music evoke a sense hope beyond the abyss.
We will be working hard all year to present this array of fabulous musical experiences. Join us! I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Greater South Jersey Chorus History
Established in 1992, Greater South Jersey Chorus (GSJC) is an auditioned, mixed voice ensemble embracing a diverse range of choral genres that has earned widespread respect for its richly varied repertoire, beautiful sound, and thoughtful interpretations. Singers perform in the full chorus and a smaller chamber ensemble, representing a vibrant mix of amateur and professional musicians drawn from throughout the Delaware Valley. Greater South Jersey Chorus is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, singer-managed organization. A board of trustees composed of chorus members and community professionals is its governing body. After more than 25 years, the chorus remains committed to bringing quality musical performances to a broad audience throughout the region in addition to expanding our community service initiatives in the area.
The chorus focuses on performing large masterworks with esteemed orchestra and guest soloists from the region. Recent performances include works by Bach, Orff, Handel, Mozart, Lauridsen, Poulenc, and Gjeilo. Performances also feature a broad range of multicultural, traditional, and contemporary choral pieces. GSJC has premiered several original compositions by former Artistic Director Dean Rishel, noted composers Frank Staneck, Michael Hegeman, Michael Karmon, and, most recently, a commissioned work by Bob Chilcott.
An active organization that performs with pride and distinction, the chorus has had the honor of appearing at Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and Longwood Gardens. Other collaborations include concerts with Symphony in C and Bay Atlantic Symphony. GSJC is proud of its outreach programs to bring choral music to local schools in underserved areas through its relationship with the Catholic Partnership Schools of the Diocese of Camden. As official Artists in Residence at the Haddonfield Center and School for the Performing Arts (HCSPA) beginning in 2014, we partner with the center, which has become our rehearsal home and a frequent performance venue. Maximilian Esmus, Artistic Director of HCSPA, lends his talent and musical expertise as our accompanist.
GSJC has been privileged to be under the baton of several esteemed choral conductors over its long history. Past artistic directors include, most notably, Dean Rishel, who led the chorus for more than 15 years; Dr. Heather Buchanan; and Dr. Jason Bishop. In the spring of 2016, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Christopher Thomas as our newest artistic director. In addition to his role at GSJC, Dr. Thomas is chairperson of the Department of Music at Rowan University. We enjoy a rewarding, creative partnership with Dr. Thomas and are delighted to benefit from his energy, skill, and musical talents at the podium as we celebrate this special anniversary year.
Looking back on the richness of the past and ahead to a vibrant future, the board of trustees, artistic director, and singers of Greater South Jersey Chorus excitedly anticipate more performances of great choral literature for audiences who continue to grow in appreciation and support of our music.
Why We Sing
Greater South Jersey Chorus brings a culturally diverse, multilingual repertoire of music to the region to entertain, educate, and enrich our community. Our December and May concerts delight audiences of all ages with music ranging from the 15th century to the present. Profoundly moving major choral works accompanied by orchestra and professional soloists are a priority in our yearly programming.
The members are devoted to the chorus because we enjoy making music and experiencing the sense of community GSJC brings to our lives. We come from many different backgrounds and hold a variety of beliefs, but our shared love of choral music, our hunger to learn more about the art of singing, and our joy at delivering beautiful concerts to our growing audiences bind us together in an uncommon sense of unity treasured by all.
Greater South Jersey Chorus is the Ensemble in Residence for HCSPA, located at Grace Church in Haddonfield, where we rehearse.
Grace Episopal Church
19 Kings Highway East
Haddonfield, NJ 08033