Enjoy a lunchtime recital today at 13:30 performed by the Jefferson Choral Society, and conducted by Aaron Garber.
Admission to the recital is included in the usual cathedral entry.
Proud History of the Jefferson Choral Society
Following twenty-seven years as the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center Chorus, the Jefferson Choral Society was chartered in 1990 as a separate non-profit organization. The name was chosen because of the proximity to Thomas Jefferson’s summer home, Poplar Forest, and his love of classical music. Norman Blake conducted the first JCS concert, performing Carmina Burana accompanied by the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra in May of 1990, and Carl Harris became JCS Music Director in December of 1990.
With more than ninety members representing six area counties and eighteen different communities, the Jefferson Choral Society is Central Virginia’s largest classical chorus and has sung over forty masterworks, including Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Magnificat in C Major, Magnificat by John Rutter, the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré, Duruflé, Rutter, and Verdi, Gloria by Poulenc, Honeggar’s King David, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Haydn’s The Creation and Mass for Troubled Times.
In addition to having presented concerts in numerous venues in Central Virginia, the JCS has performed in the Washington National Cathedral, Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, the Wintergreen Performing Arts Series, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Since 2003, the JCS has sung in benefit concerts at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. Accompanying the group in its early years was Ruby Viar, and Rose Peak accompanied the chorus from 1998 until 2020.
During the fifteen years under the Direction of Carl Harris, the chorus traveled and entertained audiences in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, and Italy. Aaron Garber became Music Director in 2007 and has conducted the chorus in premiere performances of two of his own specially commissioned compositions, Dies Irae and Credo, both scored for full orchestra and choir. Additionally, the chorus has performed another of Mr. Garber’s oratorios, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. With Mr. Garber, the JCS has toured and performed in England, Scotland, Canada, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Canada for a second time, England and Scotland again, and France.
In 2005, the Jefferson Youth Chorale was organized to perform with JCS in John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. In more recent years, the Youth Chorale has partnered with Cantate, the Children’s Choir of Central Virginia, to sing with the Jefferson Choral Society at Christmas and at the National D-Day Memorial. The JCS continues to reach out to children and youth to foster a knowledge and appreciation of choral singing.
The Jefferson Choral Society is dedicated to providing great music for all, not just classical music for some. Showing great versatility, the chorus has sung masterworks of choral music plus well-known gospel pieces, Broadway show tunes, folk songs, popular music, and music from nations around the world. The JCS performs at numerous community functions, weddings, and funerals. The chorus is governed by a Board of Directors and has three part-time paid positions, music director, accompanist, and business manager. The JCS is funded by individual and corporate donations, program advertising paid for by local businesses, ticket sales, fundraising events, and grants from the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Easley Family Trust, and the Schewel Charitable Foundation.
Aaron Garber is in his seventeenth season as the Music Director and Conductor of the Jefferson Choral Society. Mr. Garber is the Founder of the Salem Choral Society/The Chorus of the Blue Ridge where he was previously Music Director and Conductor for fourteen seasons. Aaron is currently the Music Director of the First United Methodist Church of Salem.
Aaron is active as both a conductor and composer. He has thrice served as guest conductor of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in joint concerts with the Jefferson Choral Society, which included the premieres of his Dies Irae and Credo and most recently for the May 3, 2019 concert. Aaron has composed several major works for chorus and orchestra and recently completed the composing of a full-length opera, Romania: Revolution 1989, which premiered in the Romanian Opera House in Timişoara on December 15, 2019.
Mr. Garber’s compositions have been heard across the United States and throughout the world, including in Canada, Thailand, Austria, Romania, and Tanzania. Aaron is published by Concordia Publishing House and Augsburg Fortress Publishers. He won the prestigious Raymond W. Brock student composition award in 2000, a national contest sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association. Aaron was selected to compose the 2011-2012 theme song for Rotary International, which he premiered in San Diego in 2011.
In addition to composing and conducting music, Aaron enjoys leading tour groups through his business, the International Tour Company. With Mr. Garber, the JCS has toured and performed in England, Scotland, and Canada twice. Other countries toured include Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, and France. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Bridgewater College, VA, where he was named 2007 Young Alumnus of the Year. He also received a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.