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State College Choral Society Artistic Director since 1999, Russ Shelley is committed to creating  musically inspiring programs that enrich the experience of both the singers and listeners, while  keeping with the mission of the Choral Society to present significant choral masterworks of the  highest quality for the State College Area community. The Choral Society’s masterworks repertoire  under Shelley’s direction includes Mendelssohn’s St. Paul, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s  Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang,” Bach’s Magnificat and St. John Passion, Fauré’s Requiem, Ramírez’s  Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra, Brahms’ Requiem, the Pennsylvania Premiere of Thomas  Beveridge’s Yizkor Requiem, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, Mozart’s Requiem and Duruflé’s Requiem.
During Shelley’s tenure as Artistic Director, the Choral Society commissioned its first composition, Voices of the  Holocaust, in 2003, and performed its world premiere in November 2004.  The piece has since been performed  three times in Brazil and seven times in the USA.  This season Dr. Shelley is marking his 24th year as the group’s  Artistic  Director.


     "These past 23 years have provided innumerable opportunities to work with some of the best people the Centre region offers," Dr. Shelley announced to choir membership on Monday, October 10. "I am deeply grateful to these people and the gifts they have selflessly shared. The staff, board members, board officers, guest artists, and singers alike are and have been a joy with which to work.

     "In the fall 2019, I shared with the Choral Society Board my plan to retire at the end of Choral Society’s 75th anniversary year. That plan, although challenged by the pandemic, remains in place. Next season, Choral Society’s 75th year, is my last as Music Director. 

     "The Board has worked to ensure a smooth transition. You’ll hear more about this soon.

     "The privilege of preparing and performing some of the most significant choral music available has, indeed, been more than anyone could imagine. Thank you for your continued commitment to community-based live choral music in this community. Thank you for investing in the joy of giving breath to those scribbles on the page. Music truly is the tonal analog of what it means to be human. Thank you for the joy of, together, exploring our humanity."

On Wednesday, October 12, the SCCS Board unanimously adopted the following resolution:


Resolved, That the Board of Directors of the State College Choral Society on behalf of the Membership, Professional and Administrative Staffs, acknowledges the many contributions of Artistic Director, Russ Shelley to the growth of the Society.  His knowledge of choral repertoire and choral technique delivered with wit and gentle authority inspired countless singers and delighted a generation of concert goers. We accept his letter of intent to retire presented to the Society on  October 10, 2022 with great appreciation and gratitude for his 25 years of service.

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