In 1987, Mr. Nelson created the Detroit Concert Choir to enrich lives through music and provide a venue for musicians—professional and amateur—to share their talents with the community. His vision to enhance lives through music became the foundation and motivation for the group to develop into a local, national, and international pacesetter of choral music excellence.
Mr. Nelson led the choir for 27 seasons. Under his leadership, the Detroit Concert Choir contributed significantly to the Metropolitan Detroit area's cultural vitality, highlighted by performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and at National, Regional, and State American Choral Directors Association conventions.
Mr. Nelson's passion for brilliance and his extensive musical knowledge led the Detroit Concert Choir to eighteen national and international honors, including:
- "Choir of the World" title at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales
- Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence
- Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales (1991, 1993, 1996, 2006)
- Norwich-Sligo International Choral Festival, Ireland (1994)
- Tolosa Choral Contest, Spain (1998)
- Spittal an der Drau International Choral Contest, Austria (2001)
- Seghizzi International Choral Competition, Italy (2004).
Mr. Nelson achieved his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College, a Master of Education degree from Wayne State University, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. Early in his career, he was a tenor soloist and served as the director of several church choirs. From 1961 to 1979, Mr. Nelson served as Choral Director of Denby High School in Detroit and established a high standard of excellence that included international travel and award-winning performances. Mr. Nelson was an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit. He served as President of the Rita Guy Christian Music Foundation for 25 years.