The primary purpose of the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches is to expose and educate its members and the general public to great choral masterpieces. The performance of these works from all nationalities, styles, and periods will educate, enrich, and enhance the quality of life of its members and the patrons who come to hear this beautiful and time-tested music. A secondary goal is to make our performances affordable to all, so the chorus continually strives to trim costs and keep ticket prices low so more members in the community can come and hear this beautiful “live” music. In addition, it’s important that students are exposed to classical music so one of our goals is to continue working with local schools to incorporate their choral students into our programs to give these children exposure to an adult choral group so that they might continue America’s great choral tradition as they become adults.
The Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches was organized in August, 1979 by Dr. Jones and several interested members of the community. It was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in February, 1980.
The first rehearsal of the Masterworks Chorus was held on Tuesday, October 9, 1979 at the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach. Its first concert was Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, which was presented with orchestra on November 27, 1979 at Bethesda-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach. There were 70 original members of the chorus.
Throughout the years, Masterworks Chorus has performed an extensive repertoire of classical masterpieces including several Requiems, Gloria, The Creation, Ninth Symphony, Lord Nelson Mass, Carmina Burana, Stabat Mater, Mass in C Major, Mass in F, Mass in G, Coronation Anthems, Elijah, and numerous Magnificats.
The Chorus has gone on several tours including trips to England, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Italy, Spain, and New York. Members have performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York, and at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
Singers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. New members are encouraged and are invited to join the chorus following a brief audition with the director.
In the spring of 2010, after 31 years, the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches’ founder and director Dr. Jack W. Jones retired. Dr. Carl P. Ashley was elected and served two years. In the fall of 2012, the Board of Directors named Ken Taylor as the chorus’ third director.
In 2015, members of the Masterworks Chorus sang portions of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall with the New York City Chamber Orchestra and the Masterworks Festival Chorus. Guest conductor was Patrick Dupre Quigley, founder of South Florida’s Seraphic Fire choir.
DR. JACK W. JONES
A noted concert organist and native of Daytona Beach, Dr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Stetson University, Deland, FL, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, New York, NY. Jack founded the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches in 1979 to bring performances of major choral works to Palm Beach County. Dr. Jones served as Organist/Director of Music at the Royal Poinciana Chapel from 1989 until his retirement in 2013. Additional positions have included teaching positions at Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Palm Beach State College. He has also used his musical talents as Chorus Master of Palm Beach Opera, Artistic Director of the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Society, and Music Director for the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training, Repertory Theatre, the Stage Company, and Sculpture Theatre. Dr. Jones has published many compositions, accompanied numerous recitals, concerts, and recordings, and has performed many organ Dedicatory Recitals. Dr. Jones retired from Masterworks in 2010 after 31 years and moved to Franklin, North Carolina. He passed away there in June 2018.
Artistic Music Director
Ken Taylor has been teaching music in the Palm Beach County School system for 28 years. After a 10-year stint conducting choral music at Bak Middle School of the Arts, he was appointed Director of Choral Activities at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in 2016.
Before coming to Bak Middle School, Taylor taught at several high schools in Palm Beach and Broward counties including 15 years as the Choral Director at John I. Leonard High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in both music education and music theory from Palm Beach Atlantic College.
His choruses have consistently received superior ratings at district and state choral festivals since 1991. He has conducted choruses at the National American Choral Directors Conferences in Miami (2007) and Chicago (2011). In 2014, his Boys Chorus from Bak performed at the Southern Division ACDA Conference in Jacksonville.
Mr. Taylor is an active adjudicator and clinician for district music performance assessments throughout the state of Florida. He has conducted all-state choirs in several states throughout the southeast. He also is asked to conduct county honor choirs throughout the state of Florida each year. He has twice served as the Florida Vocal Association District 14 Chairman. He also served as Coordinator for the FVA All-State SSAA choir for several years.
Mr. Taylor holds memberships in several professional organizations including the Florida Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Music Educators National Conference.
Cultural Council of the Palm Beaches
For over 30 years, the Cultural Council has actively promoted cultural development in Palm Beach County and South Florida by providing services and funding to cultural organizations and artists. We are grateful for their financial assistance.