According to USC, the Bernstein MASS is the largest artistic performance and most ambitious project staged by the university and perhaps ever performed in South Carolina.

Dean of the School of Music Tayloe Harding is producing the Bernstein Mass, USC’s largest artistic performance.

The children’s choir is one of four choirs that will perform in the Bernstein MASS.

Kevin Vortmann will be playing the Celebrant in the Bernstein MASS at the Koger Center with the University of South Carolina.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, American composer, conductor, cultural ambassador and humanitarian. To mark the occasion, The University of South Carolina is presenting Bernstein’s MASS this weekend.

“If words could describe those feelings, we would not need music,” Tayloe Harding, the dean of the USC School of Music and producer for the show. There are more than 200 performers, including music students, professionals, and townspeople  for the production which opens March 2 and runs through March 4.

Harding agreed to produce the Bernstein MASS because he wanted the university to take on a bigger challenge.

“I decided that the School of Music needed to do something big that brought all of our forces together and impacted the community in a meaningful way,” Harding said. “I actually began to tear up because it’s the perfect piece to meet the idea that I had for bringing all these forces together to impact our community.”

Kevin Vortmann, who is from Seattle, plays the Celebrant in the ambitious piece which was written in the 1970s and captured the turbulence of that era.

“Getting to be a part of presenting for the unique audience that will be here in Columbia is thrilling,” Vortmann said. “You know it is such a unique piece that there are going to be over 200 performers taking part in this every time.

“Leonard had this unique way of capturing what we think of as America in his music in such an extraordinary way,” Harding said.

The performance will take place at the Koger Center for the Arts March 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and March 4 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the Koger box office on the corner of Green and Park Street and online.