by Colleen Cook
Forty years ago, locally-renown choral conductor Richard Wink had an idea: the Mansfield Symphony should have a chorus. So many great symphonic works require a chorus, and Mansfield is chock-full of great singers. And so, the Mansfield Symphony Chorus was born.
Members of the chorus have had the opportunity to benefit from the leadership of many great choral conductors through the years, and our current conductor Larry Griffin is no exception. Larry’s exuberance and expertise are truly one-of-a-kind, and his leadership this season has injected a new life into our chorus.
Under his leadership, the Mansfield Symphony Chorus will perform a spring choral concert on April 30th fully loaded with incredible choral repertoire (such as Haydn’s mass in B flat and some absolutely gorgeous short choral works including my all-time favorite, Joseph Martin’s “The Awakening.”) So, we wanted to take a little time to get to know Larry Griffin a little better:
Colleen Cook: When did you start singing?
Larry Griffin: I don’t remember when wasn’t singing. In church and school I use to get into trouble because of being high strung. But once my teachers found out that I could sing it got me out of many situations.
CC: What was your journey to becoming director of the Mansfield Symphony Chorus?
LG: My journey to Mansfield started with Robert Franz inviting my Columbus group, Capriccio, to sing the Beethoven’s 9th in 2007 with the Symphony Chorus. They performed again with the Theresienmesse, and another time with Candide. This was my introduction to this fine orchestra and chorus. I knew then that it was my desire to have the opportunity to direct the chorus.
CC: What do you love about choral singing?
LG: I love directing choirs more than anything! Having the ability to mold individual voices and making beautiful music together is such a joy!
CC: What is your favorite choral piece, and why?
LG: One of my favorite choral works is the Puccini Mass. It’s my favorite because it introduced me to my first major choral work, it gave me my first solo, and introduced me to my late wife, Jane.
CC: What can our audience look forward to on the Sing into Spring concert?
LG: The audience can expect a diverse program featuring the music from Haydn, Mozart, Negro Spirituals and other memorable choral pieces. The choir will be accompanied by a small orchestral ensemble from members of the MSO and they will get to hear four wonderful soloist: soprano, alto, tenor and bass from the Columbus area. I’m very excited to have Director Emeritus Richard Wink directing and singing as a member of the chorus, as well.