Taking the Stage: Walsh Choir Director Debuts at Legendary Carnegie Hall


School News

Walsh University’s Division of Fine & Performing Arts Chair Britt Cooper, Ph.D., and 35 members of the Canton Symphony Chorus took the stage for the first time at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall to perform the Dona Nobis Pacem of Ralph Vaughan Williams on Monday, June 10, in New York City. 

Assembled on the Carnegie Hall stage was a massed chorus of more than 150 voices, drawn from ensembles in three states, led by two conductors and in one major masterpiece of choral music.

Dr. Britt Cooper was one of those conductors, making his Carnegie Hall debut along with the Canton Symphony Chorus, of which he has been Director for the last eight seasons. Joining Dr. Cooper in the performance was Lisa Madaffer, accompanist for the Walsh choral program, and three Walsh alumni members of the Chorus -- Christa Capper, Kathleen Moore and Abbie Wright. 

"The Canton Symphony Chorus has never traveled outside of northeast Ohio to perform, so to make its first touring performance at Carnegie Hall will be a tremendous blessing to all," said Dr. Cooper. "Personally, my only other Carnegie performance experience was as a chorister under the direction of Robert Shaw in 1993. To return as a conductor is a dream come true."

The Canton Symphony Chorus sang alongside members of the following ensembles:

  • Bangor Area High School Choir, Bangor, PA (Joseph DiMInico, Director)
  • Southern Kentucky Choral Society, Bowling Green, KY (Paul Hondorp, Director)

Dr. Cooper led the final two movements of Dona Nobis Pacem by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, with Paul Hondorp conducting the first three. They were  joined in the performance, part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season, by Robyn Marie Lamp, soprano soloist; Jason Duika, baritone soloist; and the New England Symphonic Ensemble.