The Collegium Musicum is the University of Miami Frost School of Music’s community chamber choir. The chorus of the Miami Bach Society since 1984, it has also sung with the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Naples Philharmonic, and it has toured in England, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as The United States. In 1987 the Collegium sang at the mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Miami.
The Collegium’s 24 to 30 singers are of different backgrounds and of all ages–some members are students, some are faculty, some are in careers (including teachers, medical people, bankers, attorneys). All make a commitment to learn music outside of regular Monday evening rehearsals, so that rehearsals focus on musicality and performance considerations. Auditions for membership can be arranged through the UM Voice Department office, 305-284-4162. The Collegium rehearses Monday evenings at 7:30 in the Episcopal Chapel of the Venerable Bede on the UM Campus.
Founded in 1977 by Dr. Donald Oglesby, the Collegium became well known for its annual Madrigal Dinners during the Christmas season; these grew to become the Holiday Dinners of the Frost School of Music’s Choral Program. With the Miami Bach Society (founded in 1984 and led since then by Dr. Oglesby) the ensemble has given highly acclaimed performances of many Baroque masterpieces, including the Bach B Minor Mass, St. John, St. Matthew, and St. Mark Passions, the Christmas Oratorio, motets, and numerous cantatas; Handel oratorios and anthems; music of Heinrich Schütz, Henry Purcell, and Antonio Vivaldi; and modern world premieres of the Pergolesi Mass in D, the Joseph-Antoine Lorenziti Messe a grande symphonie (in collaboration with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles), and the Pange Lingua of Michel Richard de Lalande. Its acclaimed Italian Baroque Christmas in December, 2013, was sponsored by the Italian Consulate. In December of 2014, the group featured a French Baroque Christmas, sponsored by the French Consulate; the Ft. Lauderdale based Florida Singing Sons joined the Collegium for this program.
In 2013 the Collegium sang four South Florida performances of Choral Music of the Civil War. In 2015 it presented Lincoln Tribute concerts in Miami and in Washington, D.C. These concerts marked the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, with featured concerts at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (the Lincoln family’s church), the Cosmos Club, and the Church of the Covenant, in Arlington. Master Sergeant Colin Eaton of the U.S. Army Chorus (a UM alumnus), joined Collegium for the premier of Lincoln: The Walls of His Memorial, composed for the occasion by Dr. David Pagel.
Future plans also include performances of the Bach St. John Passion and a tour to Germany for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.