Maennerchor selects new musical director
John S. Long Jr. is getting reacquainted with the Columbus Maennerchor.
When he was a child, his parents were social members of the German club, located in the Brewery District.
Long was appointed as the singing society's new musical director, a job he will begin Jan. 1.
"I know so many people there," he said. "It seems like a good fit."
Long, 60, retired in June after 38 years in the Pickerington Local School District, where he most recently served as director of vocal music and music department chairman at Pickerington High School Central. He has been director of the Columbus Swiss Singers for 33 years.
"That would be one of my goals, working with the Maennerchor and the Swiss Club," Long said. "Maybe we could collaborate on things, because they have the same basic love for their heritage."
Long will succeed Ronald Markle, who plans to retire Dec. 31 after 30 years of service to the club. Markle will continue singing baritone with the men's choir.
Long lauded Markle as a "wonderful musician."
Werner Niehaus, president of the Maennerchor, said Long was chosen from a field of about 12 candidates.
Long was chosen because of his knowledge of German music, skill and potential to attract younger singers to the Maennerchor, Niehaus said.
"I'm pretty happy because John is energetic and has a little different of a style, so it's good to refresh," Niehaus said.
An annual concert of the Columbus Maennerchor and Damenchor, under Markle's musical direction, will be held 4 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 672 S. Third St. in German Village. It is free and open to the public.
Long of Pickerington said he's been getting acclimated with the Maennerchor and Dammenchor, the two choirs in the singing society, with the goal of expanding its range of entertainment venues.
Columbus once counted as many as six German choirs and they often performed concerts together.
Long said he hopes to unite the region's singing groups as a way to reach out to new members and "share the heritage that is known to Columbus."
"I tend to think the new people, the young people, in Columbus haven't heard of those groups because they're not singing it," he said.
Long said he's still active in music, teaching at the Pickerington branch campus of Ohio University and student teaching at Ohio State University.
"I'm going to be busy, but that's the way I've always been," he said. "Some people said I was in over my head but to me that was a normal thing."
"I'm pretty happy because John is energetic and has a little different of a style, so it's good to refresh."
-- WERNER NIEHAUS
Columbus Maennerchor president