Permanently founded in 1983 by then music director Dr. Jeffrey H. Brandes, the CSO Chorus is an auditioned choral ensemble composed of all volunteer vocalists from the greater Stark County area. Chorus members come from all walks of life and have a wide array of choral experience levels. They are united in their love for music and strive for remarkable music experience for not only the audience, but also themselves.
The CSO Chorus appears several times throughout the season with the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and has begun pursuing some chorus-only concerts. They practice on Monday evenings from September through May from 7:00pm-9:30pm at the Birk Center within Walsh University. Auditions are held periodically throughout the season.
Douglas Beery recently concluded his second year as the Director of Choral Activities at Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio. He directs eight choirs at the high school, including a newly formed Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus. The Men’s and Women’s Chorus, along with the Symphonic Choir, have earned superior ratings in A and AA categories at OMEA District and State Adjudicated Events during the past two years. Doug was also Director of Choirs at Northwest High School for eight years, where the choral program grew from 70 to 140 students, from three to nine choirs, and achieved Superior Ratings at OMEA State Adjudicated Events in Class AA, A, B, and C categories. In 2017, Mr. Beery was selected as the Northwest Local Schools “Teacher of the Year” and was a finalist for Stark County “Teacher of the Year” in 2018. In addition, he was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Canton Symphony Orchestra “Music Educator of the Year.” Mr. Beery has twenty-three years of secondary public school teaching experience, in addition to graduate assistant conducting appointments at The Ohio State University, and most recently, Kent State University, where he served as conductor of the Kent State University Men’s Chorus, and assistant conductor of the KSU Chorale. He also is proud to have successfully served at Massillon Washington High School for ten years as both Assistant Director (four years) and Director (six years), where he headed a choral program of nearly 300 students. Choral ensembles under his direction have successfully toured Ohio, the United States, and Europe. In addition, he has held the baton as the music director and conductor for twenty-two Broadway musical productions.
Mr. Beery received a Bachelor of Music degree from Capital University and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from The Ohio State University. Additional Doctoral work has been credited in Music Education with a cognate in Conducting at Kent State University. Further graduate conducting study has taken place at the University of Michigan and Miami University. Choral groups under Beery’s direction have earned consistent and numerous superior ratings at OMEA District and State Adjudicated Events and have been invited through audition to perform at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conferences. Mr. Beery is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and Ohio Music Education Association, where he has been an adjudicator of large group choral and solo/ensemble events for OMEA. Mr. Beery has also served as a guest conductor for area middle and high schools and for the District 9 Middle School Honor Choir. He has presented throughout OMEA districts on the subject of building and maintaining the high school vocal music program. In addition, He has served as Director of Music at Central Presbyterian Church, and Music Director for the contemporary service at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, both of Massillon, Ohio. Doug is looking forward with great anticipation and excitement to making music with the Canton Symphony Chorus in the coming years!
Pianist, Lisa Madaffer, earned her Bachelor of Music in piano performance and music theory, summa cum laude and with departmental honors, from Kent State University and her Master of Music from Bowling Green State University. She went on to do post master’s work at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her primary teachers include Margaret Baxtresser, Virginia Marks, Thomas Hecht and Sandra Shapiro. Ms. Madaffer was the 1987 winner of the Tuesday Musical Club competition and the 1989 runner-up in the MTNA Competition. As the winner of the BGSU concerto competition, she performed the Schumann Piano Concerto with the university orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano.
Ms. Madaffer was on the faculty of the Malone University music department from 1996-2012. A sought after collaborator and chamber musician, she has played with music majors at Kent State University, Akron University, Malone University and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
On the faculty of Walsh University since 1997, Ms. Madaffer conducts the University Handbell Ensemble, teaches Fundamentals of Musicianship, Intro to Arts Appreciation (VPA 101), applied piano and collaborates with the Chorale, Chamber Singers, student and faculty performers throughout the year. She also serves as the rehearsal accompanist for the Canton Symphony Chorus and is employed at First Presbyterian Church in Barberton as the organist/pianist. Officially a crazy cat lady, she lives in Akron with her 6 cats: Zoodles, Pumpkin, Onyx, Scherzo, Joplin and Cassidy.
The view from the top of the stage, looking out towards the audience over a 60-piece orchestra is indescribably profound. Members of the chorus are able to sing with not only the Canton Symphony Orchestra, but also with some of the industry’s most renown soloists and ensembles. Members have plenty of instruction and support to prepare for more difficult pieces, as some concerts feature choral parts in different languages such as German, Italian, French, and more. The group is not just a supplemental piece to the CSO – it is its own community program that is meant to educate and support vocalists looking for a place to sing.
The CSO Chorus is becoming a more diverse and welcoming organization to all who wish to be a part of community music-making. Auditions are casual and low-pressure, taking only about 10-15 minutes per person. There is no upper age limit to participate but we do require that participants have graduated from high school. Our singers vary in vocal/musical ability and singular talent is not the point of being part of a chorus. It is meant to be an exciting, musically-rewarding, and collaborative experience.
Try Us Out!
Auditions can be daunting, especially if you have had time off from singing when life got busy. Come “try us out” by joining us to sing in an open rehearsal. Reach out in the form below if you would like to come.
Auditions consist of:
To schedule an audition, fill out the form below to submit an audition request form. You will be contacted with the date and time of your audition.
To schedule an audition or schedule a date to come to an open rehearsal, please fill out the form below. Once submitted, you will be contacted by a member of the CSO Chorus admin team. If you would like to attend an open rehearsal before auditioning, please indicate in the comment section of the form.
Singing in a chorus is a powerful art form that not only has the ability to enhance your vocal abilities, but it also provides numerous mental and physical benefits that contribute to your overall well-being and health. In fact, singing in a chorus can have a transformative impact on your life.
Singing not only lifts the spirit and brings joy, but it also promotes a sense of belonging and connection. Being part of a chorus allows individuals to come together as a unified voice, creating a harmonious blend that can be both empowering and therapeutic. Engaging in group singing releases endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety while boosting mood and overall well-being. Chorus members often experience a sense of community, finding solace and support in the shared passion for music. The act of singing itself can be a cathartic release, providing an outlet for emotions and an opportunity for self-expression. Whether performing on stage or practicing together, the collective experience of singing in a chorus nurtures mental resilience, fosters self-confidence, and cultivates a sense of purpose, ultimately contributing to improved mental health and a greater sense of fulfillment.
The act of singing engages various muscles and systems in the body, promoting overall physical well-being. The deep breaths required for singing exercises the respiratory system, increasing lung capacity and enhancing oxygen intake. This can improve overall cardiovascular health, boost stamina, and increase energy levels. Singing also promotes good posture, as it requires proper alignment of the body to optimize breath control and vocal projection. Additionally, the vocal exercises and techniques practiced in a chorus strengthen and tone the muscles in the throat, neck, and face. Regular singing can contribute to improved vocal control, clearer speech, and enhanced vocal range. The physical exertion and coordination involved in choral performances provide a low-impact workout that can help improve coordination, balance, and flexibility. Singing in a chorus not only brings joy and fulfillment but also offers a holistic approach to physical well-being, making it a delightful and health-enhancing activity for people of all ages.