ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 20Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Founder of Southern California Mormon Choir Dies
Los Angeles Times 19Jun00 P2
By Myrna Oliver: Times Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- The founding conductor of the Southern California Mormon Choir, H. Frederick Davis, died Tuesday, June 13th at his home in North Hollywood, California. Davis was the conductor of the Choir for 28 years and of the Ellis-Orpheus Men's Chorus. Davis was 91.

Davis was born in Tonga and educated at the University of Auckland in New Zealand before he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he worked with Mormon singers. After he moved to southern California, Davis was asked in 1951 to put together a 300 voice LDS choir to sing at the Hollywood Bowl. The choir was successful, and was then asked to sing for an Easter sunrise service at the Hollywood Bowl. Further invitations led Davis and others to form the Southern California Mormon Choir in September 1953.

The choir was the first of a number of regional Mormon Choirs that have been created. Other regional Mormon choirs exist in Arizona, Colorado, Washington DC and in Richmond, Virginia.

The Southern California Mormon Choir then began, starting in 1953, a tradition of presenting Handel's "Messiah" each at Christmastime each year. And in the 1960s, the choir became the only founding member of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, allowing it to move its sell-out performances of the "Messiah" to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Musically, critics were impressed with the Choir that Davis created. In 1979, a reviewer in the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Davis once again welded his 94 singers into a remarkably flexible choral ensemble capable of coping with the most difficult Handelian challenges with poise, vitality and textural clarity."

Davis took over the Ellis-Orpheus Men's Chorus in 1952, at about the same time that the Mormon Choir was formed. The Ellis-Orpheus Chorus had its origins in the Charles Ellis Singing Club formed in 1888 and the Orpheus Club started in 1905. The two later merged, and Davis conducted the group for some four decades.

Early on the Times credited Davis with rejuvenating the Choir, saying that he "brought with him a good background of professional experience well suited to raise the caliber of an amateur group." Twenty years later, the Times credited Davis with success. In an interview with the Times in 1988, Davis himself acknowledged that the group had improved, "The precision in the group is much better now than it used to be. When I first took over in 1952, the members weren't interested in technical perfection. They just wanted to have fun."

In addition to conducting the two choirs, Davis won honors from California musical organizations and a Utah state proclamation that called him a "truly great pioneer in the field of music." He was also a voice teacher and composer and active in the American Society of Composers and Conductors, the National Assn. of Teachers of Singing and the California Federation of Music Clubs.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information