Mr. D. Frederic DeHaven (2003-13)
Oakland Choral Society (OCS) was formed in 2003 by a group of singers who had sung together for many years with the Oakland University Community Chorus, after the latter was discontinued by the university. These singers, along with Mr. D. Frederic DeHaven, the director of the community chorus, felt the need to continue to bring incredible music to the community and formed the independent, nonprofit organization called “Oakland Choral Society.” With Mr. DeHaven’s direction, the chorus developed into a society of singers, numbering over 60, with a strong history of excellent choral singing and accomplished performances. The repertoire included the masterworks of classical choral literature, from the works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, to Bernstein, Copeland, and Rutter. There were many wonderful concert experiences under Mr. DeHaven, including a collaboration with Friends of the Opera of Michigan in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. Mr. DeHaven retired in 2013.
Mr. Scott Hanoian (2013-15)
Following Mr. DeHaven’s retirement in 2013, Scott Hanoian became the artistic director and conductor. Mr. Hanoian continued the performance tradition of singing the standard “classics,” and he infused the chorus with energy and an appreciation for attention to the musical details that each composition required. The highlight of his tenure was presenting a concert version of Handel’s first oratorio, Esther, with orchestra and soloists, who dramatized the performance, to a sold-out audience. In May 2015, Mr. Hanoian resigned to accept the position of music director and conductor for the University Musical Society Choral Union at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Noah Horn (2015-18)
In September 2015, Noah Horn became the third artistic director for OCS, and his resumé includes extensive experience in choral conducting and music education. The repertoire performed under Dr. Horn was varied and challenging. Our first concert featured Rossini’s Petite Messe solennelle, accompanied by two pianos and a harmonium. The year 2017 became the “Year of the Baroque” for OCS. In April 2017, we presented the concert version of Handel’s final oratorio, Jephtha, which is not often performed, and received a very enthusiastic response from the audience as well as from all of the artists involved in this endeavor. This was followed in November 2017 with the most diverse program to date, titled “Baroque Around the World,” The program consisted of seven pieces from the Baroque era of varying duration, by seven composers from different countries, and sung in five different languages. While this performance was very challenging, we improved our musicianship and confidence to be better singers. Dr. Horn departed in April 2018, when he and his family relocated to the East Coast.
Mr. Andrew Neer (2018-Present)
Andrew Neer became the artistic director in September 2018 and, in November 2018, conducted a masterful performance of Brahm’s Requiem. We are beginning our second season with Mr. Neer and he brings a new energy and perspective to the concert experience, with his expertise in orchestral conducting as well as choral performance. His position as music director and conductor for Orchestra Sono is an added benefit. Programming for the concerts will include works for solo orchestra and, if possible, those performed by featured soloists, along with the choral selections, as the program content allows. This new format was debuted in April 2019, with the chorus singing masses by Haydn and Schubert, and Orchestra Sono beginning the concert with Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. The audience feedback on the new format was very positive and indicated that the variety was most welcome. As we continue this relationship with Mr. Neer, together we will develop strategies to attract new chorus members and new audiences who will welcome the musical experiences we offer.