New chorale joins the Firelands Symphony Orchestra

Michael Shirtz

Coming to the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in the 2017-2018 concert season is the new Firelands Symphony Chorale led by conductor and director Michael Shirtz. The FSC will be an auditioned chorus of singers that serve as chorus-in-residence for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra and School of the Arts. Performing both classical, contemporary and American music programming, the FSC will provide influential educational programs for singers and choir directors. The Firelands Symphony Chorale will perform with the FSO throughout the season as well as present additional programming and choral festivals.

Michael Shirtz, a performer, producer and conductor, will be directing the Firelands Symphony Chorale. Shirtz is an OCM artist that leads the jazz/contemporary group Michael Shirtz Quartet and serves as the project manager of the Tri-C JazzFest and Tri-C Presents Performance Series in Cleveland. Shirtz is the choral conductor for Lakeside Chautauqua where he serves as the artistic director of the Chautauqua Choral Festival and is an active choral clinician and guest conductor. Shirtz has served on the faculty of Conservatory of Music at Capital University, Terra State Community College and American Music Academy.

“Michael brings a tremendous talent to our organization with the formation of the Firelands Symphony Chorale. We all look forward to working with him,” says FSO artistic director and conductor Carl Topilow. “I’ve worked with Michael for many years, and not only does he possess a very high degree of musicianship, but he has an acute focus and is very detail oriented. However, he tempers all of that with a sense of humor that will get the most out of the people he works with,” says FSO’s concertmaster Ron Booker.

The Firelands Symphony Chorale’s mission is to serve as a dedicated ensemble with a professional attitude and commitment toward good quality choral music. The FSC will pride themselves on making great music and continuing to raise the bar for its singers as the chorus-in-residence for the FSO.

Already planned for 2017-2018 are three performances with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, starting with opening night on October 7 performing selections from Bach’s Cantata No. 80: Ein feste Berg ist unser Gott (celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation). The FSC will perform with the full orchestra for the holiday spectacular on Dec. 10 as well as the closing concert on April 21, 2018. The FSC will participate in the Great Hymns of Faith Festival Oct. 28-29 and present Brahm’s Requiem in March of 2018.

Auditions for membership into the FSC will take place at the Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s Office and School for the Arts on Sunday, May 7, from 2-6 p.m. and on Monday, May 8, from 6-9 p.m. For more information about upcoming auditions and to be considered for the chorale, email Laurie Korobkin, executive director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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