Choral Union to begin 20th year with Castleberry as director

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
David Castleberry
David Castleberry

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-- Marshall University’s Choral Union is seeking new singers to join it, according to Dr. David Castleberry, who is beginning his 20th year as director of the group. Rehearsals begin Tuesday, Aug. 23. 

This fall, the ensemble will join with the MU Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus to present performances of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Mass in D Minor, also known as the “Nelson” Mass, along with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Castleberry said. The Haydn work is one of the finest settings in the choral-orchestral literature and the Beethoven work features a virtuoso part for solo piano. Concerts will take place on Dec. 1 and 2.

Since Castleberry serves as director of both the MU Choral Union and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, combining forces for this concert is a natural collaboration, he said. Last spring, the Choral Union joined with the Huntington Symphony in a presentation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. “Any time we undertake a large production of this kind,” Castleberry said, “we depend upon the cooperation of a lot of people. Working with Dr. Reed Smith and the Marshall University Orchestra is something we always enjoy. Combining choral forces will make this an even more lavish production.” 

Smith agrees. “The Marshall University Orchestra will benefit greatly from collaborating with the Choral Union and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus on two important works of the Classical Period,” she said. “I am especially pleased that we will be featuring our outstanding new piano faculty member, Dr. Henning Vauth, on Beethoven’s rarely performed Choral Fantasy. This performance will be a treat for our local audience.”

Under Castleberry’s leadership, the Choral Union has performed works ranging from Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem to Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. Rehearsals are held each Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in Smith Music Hall, Room 150. Music is available for purchase at rehearsal.

The Choral Union welcomes adult singers from throughout the Tri-state. No audition is required, but previous musical experience is helpful. For further information, persons may call 304-696-2963.

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