Students from several area high schools are getting the chance to sing Joseph Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” with the Omaha Symphony this weekend.

The students are part of a 400-member chorus that will perform the piece, considered by many to be the composer’s finest, at the Choral Collaborative concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Holland Center. Professional soloists for the event are soprano Sarah Shafer, mezzo-soprano Samantha Gossard, tenor Anthony Webb and baritone Joseph Beutel.

Choral Collaborative is a yearly program that unites high school vocal classes with professional musicians for an intense learning experience. The students have been studying the music and rehearsing this fall with symphony Principal Pops Conductor Ernest Richardson and chorusmaster A. Barron Breland, who is director of choral activities at Creighton University.

Participating schools this year are Bellevue West, Bennington, Blair, Omaha Burke, Creighton Prep and Papillion-La Vista.

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Haydn wrote his Mass in D Minor in 1799 during the tense period when Napoleon was threatening the stability of Europe. It premiered around the time that Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated the French military leader at the Battle of the Nile, and it was known after that as the “Lord Nelson Mass,” though the composer never referred to it as such.

It has no parts for wind instruments because most wind players were soldiers at the time it was written.

The program also will include Haydn’s Te Deum, written for Empress Maria Therese of Austria. Tickets range from $19 to $73 and are available at or 402-345-0606.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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