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 20th year as the group’s Artistic Director.
Asa Carns, accompanist, organist, and occasional singer for the State College Choral Society, is also Director of Music at First Evangelical Church in Altoona, music teacher at TLC School, professional recording artist, and private teacher of voice, piano, and organ. Native to Clearfield, he accompanied and directed the Clearfield Choral Society.
As the accompanist for the touring choirs of Juniata College, the PA Chamber Chorale, and the Regent Chorale, he has traveled to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, and Ireland, playing many historic and/or celebrated pipe organs for audiences around the world. Carns holds degrees in Sacred Organ Performance and Piano Performance from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. He also studied organ at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in Germany for two years.