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Formed by a group of local university and townspeople who gathered together for the study of Handel’s Messiah, the UMS Choral Union has performed with many of the world’s distinguished orchestras and conductors in its 135-year history. Since its first performance of Handel’s Messiah in December 1879, the oratorio has been performed by the UMS Choral Union in Ann Arbor annually. Based in Ann Arbor under the aegis of the University Musical Society, the 175-voice choral union, led by Music Director Jerry Blackstone, is known for its definitive performances of large-scale works for chorus and orchestra. Beginning in the 1995–1996 season, the UMS Choral Union further enriched that tradition when it began appearing regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Role: Choir 
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