our mission is to study and perform quality choral music, to unite people through the great choral literature, to nurture appreciation of, and educate youth in the art of choral music.
The annual concert series has expanded from the original two concerts per year to the point where it now includes a Fall Concert; a Christmas Concert, usually given on two consecutive nights; a Lenten Concert concentrating on sacred music; and an early May Pops Concert. The WCS has performed at the Westmoreland County Arts and Heritage Festival at Twin Lakes Park, at St. Clair Park in Greensburg and also on other special occasions. The WCS has taken singing tours to Canada, Williamsburg and Lancaster.
In 2009, Marvin Huls and Ed Highberger announced their intentions to retire after 34 and 32 years respectively of leadership. This triggered a year-long search for a new Musical Director and Accompanist. In May of 2010, the Board of Directors hired Thomas Octave as the new director; Nancy Finke Sheehan agreed to serve as accompanist. Under Tom’s direction, the Society has expanded its cooperation with other area arts groups and re-established some traditions from the past.
The WCS created a composer-in-residence program which resulted in world premiere performances of works composed for the group by Pittsburgh area composers. The Westmoreland Children’s Chorus was re-established in 2013 and is now performing at two of each season’s concerts. In 2012 and 2013, the fall concerts featured original choreography by Bodiography, a contemporary dance company from Pittsburgh. In 2013, this relationship resulted in the WCS singing live for two Bodiography performances in the Byham Theater in the Pittsburgh Cultural District.
Since 2010, most concerts have featured instrumentalists from the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra. In 2012, the WCS began a tradition of singing with River City Brass for the second of its Christmas Concert performances. In 2014, the WCS will sing with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic in two performances of the Beethoven 9th Symphony. Performance venues have also expanded. In addition to the downtown Pittsburgh performances mentioned earlier, concerts have been held in New Kensington, Irwin, and Latrobe as well as the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center and Westmoreland County Community College.
Stronger than ever, the WCS continues its proud tradition of bringing well-prepared concerts of the finest choral music to Southwestern Pennsylvania.