Thursday, May 11, 2023

Morris Choral Society to Perform "Carmina Burana"

Carmina Burana
by Carl Orff

WHEN: Saturday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. 
Morristown United Methodist Church on the Green
$25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for children.
Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 973-723-6424.

The Morris Choral Society kicks off the celebration of its 50th anniversary with their presentation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The 60-voice chorus will be supplemented with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, soloists soprano Manami Aoki, tenor Justin Gonzalez, baritone Jonathan Green, two pianos and five percussionists.

While the original score by Carl Orff was for a large orchestra, in 1956 Wilherm Killmayer, a disciple of Orff, created a reduced version which includes soloists, a mixed chorus, a children’s chorus, two pianos and percussion. 

One of the pianists on May 20th is Jennifer Yang, the regular accompanist for the Chorus and the organist for the Morristown Methodist Church on the Green. She performs solo recitals around the world. The other pianist is Julie Suh. The percussionists are timpanist Adrienne Ostrander, Mark Bencivengo, Jon Berger, John Ferrari, and Wes Ostrander.

The young soprano, Manami Aoki, currently lives in New York City, but she was raised and attended university in Japan. She has won prizes such as the Tokyo International Vocal Competition and the Lunigiana International Music Festival Competition. Recently, her singing was used in the film “The Last Passenger” which won prizes in the Cannes International Movie Festival among others.

Tenor Justin Gonzalez is much in demand both as an opera singer, but also as a popular music performer. He has appeared at major venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Notre Dame, The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and Verizon Hall.

American Verdi Baritone Jonathan Green graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has been a soloist with New York’s National Choral where he has performed Carmina Burana. His operatic credits include title roles in “Rigoletto,” “Falstaff”, “Figaro,” “Scarpia,” and “Crown” in Porgy and Bess plus several others. He was a guest soloist for the Morris Choral Society in 2022 and received a standing ovation.

The Young People’s Chorus of New York City is recognized around the world for its award-winning performances and its artistry. Comprised of a diverse group of young people from across the five boroughs, it encourages them to open their minds to each other while demanding excellence both on and off the stage. The educational organization was founded by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year.

The Morris Choral Society is directed by Michael Shane Wittenburg, who is active with many companies in the metropolitan New York area including the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera and the Manhattan Opera Studio. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Michael and Morris Choral Society have been selected as a semi-finalist in the Choral Conducting (non-collegiate) Division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. This competition is one of this country’s most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition at

The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Morris Choral Society requires more funds than the Chorus has, so to maintain the high standards of this community chorus, a Go Fund Me campaign is underway. Founded by R. Wayne Walters in 1973, the Morris Choral Society has thrived because of the reputation of this musician, singer, composer, conductor and music educator. To honor Wayne and to help the Chorus meet its anniversary expenses, supporters can donate through the website which is

The MCS is funded in part by the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has also been provided by the Arts Council of the Morris Area/Dodge Foundation Partnership and by the Masterwork Music and Art Foundation. To learn more about the Morris Choral Society and to order tickets for this concert, visit