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Earl Taylor 2010 Distinguished Alumnus

The School of Music Alumni Professional Society has chosen Earl Taylor as the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus.Mr Taylor 6-9-09

Mr. Taylor holds two degrees from the School of Music: A Bachelor of Music Education ('74) and a Master of Music in Music Education ('90).

Most recently he has served as Supervisor of Arts Education for Onslow County. He has held positions as Band Director at White Oak High School/Tabernacle Middle School, Interim Principal for Parkwood Elementary and Thompson Elementary, Director of Middle Schools and Arts Education, Director of Community Affairs and Arts Education, President of the ECU School of Music Alumni Professional Society, President of the North Carolina Bandmaster Association (Eastern District), Chair of the Arts Coordinators Section of NCMEA, and President of NCMEA.


On January 8, 2010, White Oak High School dedicated its new fine arts center, which includes a 740-seat auditorium and two art rooms.  In recognition of his achievements as band director at White Oak and serving as the Arts Education Director for the Onslow County Schools, the faculty and staff at White Oak High chose to name the new facility the ‘Earl Taylor Performing Arts Center.’ 

Join us in congratulating Mr. Taylor on this latest honor. Mark you calendar for the Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony and Reception to be held in conjunction with the New Music Festival Concert on February 27, 2010.
 
Michelle J. Hairston receives music therapy award
Michelle J. Hairston, professor and chair and of ECU’s Music Education & Music Therapymichellehairston Department, was honored at the 2010 American Music Therapy Association conference with the Award of Service to the profession of music therapy.

 

 
Chamber Singers sing at South ACDA, premiere

The East Carolina University Chamber Singers have been selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s (ACDA) Southern Division Convention in Memphis March 11 as part of the their spring tour. The chamber singers, conducted by ECU director of choral activities Daniel Bara, are ECU’s premiere choral ensemble.

The choir has been chosen for the southern division premiere performance of this year’s Raymond W. Brock Choral Commission. The Raymond W. Brock Choral Commission is the ACDA’s annual commission of a nationally-recognized composer to write a choral composition to perpetuate quality choral repertoire. This year’s commission is entitled All the Works of Love,”written by American composer Joan Szymko. The singers will perform before an audience of more than 900 choral conductors and choral musicians from the nine-state Southern region.

Additional tour stops include Charlotte and Nashville. The Charlotte performance is March 8at7:30 p.m. at Providence United Methodist Church, and is co-hosted by The Charlotte Children’s Chorus, who will also perform.

The chamber singers will perform at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville on Tuesday, March 9at 7:30 p.m. The concert is hosted by Michael Velting, director of music at Christ Church, and his assistant organist and choirmaster Jon Johnson (ECU BM ’99, MM ’07).

Repertoire on the tour program includes works of Frank Martin, Elliott Carter, William Harris, Charles Wood, Samuel Barber, Richard Rodney Bennett, and others, in addition to several folk song and spiritual arrangements.

The Chamber Singers’ first professional recording, “Greater Love,” is available on iTunes. Their second recording, “Eternal Light,” is scheduled for release in the spring of 2010.

All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information about the ECU Chamber Singers, contact Daniel Bara at barad@ecu.edu

Information about past Raymond Brock commissions, performances, composers, and choirs is listed on this webpage.http://acda.org/archive/brock_pieces

 
Jazz Studies ensemble at the Lincoln Center
East Carolina University jazz studies ensemble A performed at the Lincoln Center in New York on February 28. The performance featured a premiere performance of the composition “Aha” composed by ECU Distinguished Professor of Music Bob Mintzer, funded by ECU Jazz Friends Mr. and Mrs. Victor Chapp. In addition, Billy Taylor, namesake of Greenville’s Billy Taylor Jazz festival, performed a solo intro to his composition, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” with the ensemble.

On the trip the ensemble performed at Francis Hammond Middle School in Alexandria to 200 children (Vaughn Ambrose, SofM Alum is Director of Instrumental Music at Hammond), and at Bowie State University for student body and music students. The Bowie State performance was filmed for the Prince Georges County cable TV network and ABC World Wide Web.  

ECU school of music and jazz studies alums Vaughn Ambrose, director of instrumental music at Francis Hammond Middle School, and Dorsey Mitch Butler, director of jazz studies at Claflin University were featured as guest conductors and special guest soloists.

Lenora Helm, UNC-Central jazz vocal studies professor and ECU jazz studies graduate teaching assistant, performed with the ensemble.
 
Four Seasons, New Music Festivals celebrate 10th anniversaries

Ara GregorianThe Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and artistic director Ara Gregorian bring internationally renowned musicians to eastern North Carolina and beyond for concerts, master classes, and interactive community outreach. In residence at the East Carolina University School of Music, the festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season. Highlights of past seasons include more than 60 public concerts, 200 master classes, two performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a six-concert tour of Israel.
The 2009-2010 season is highlighted by four residencies.  Each residency includes back-to-back nights of concerts, master classes, open rehearsals, children’s concerts, world-renowned guest artists, and the greatest literature in the chamber music repertoire, all in ECU’s A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.
 
In addition, the festival will present Children’s Residency III and debut the Master Teachers Next Generation Concerts, the newest component of the Master Teachers Program.  These concerts will feature current and former East Carolina University students performing alongside Four Seasons guest artists and ECU faculty.
 
This year will also be marked by two specials events: the annual Donor Appreciation Event and the 10th Anniversary Celebration. Each event will feature special guest artists and programs in celebration of the festival and in appreciation of all those who have made its existence possible throughout the years. www.ecu.edu/music/fourseasons
 
ECU’s New Music Festival presents its 10th anniversary concert series February 24–28, 2010, celebrating the music of our time.

Highlights include evenings with ECU percussionist Chris Nappi; clarinetist Nathan Williams (ECU professor Christopher Grymes’ teacher and predecessor at ECU, as well as an instigating force behind the festival’s creation 10 years ago); Nathaniel /Users/harleydartt/Desktop/nathaniel-bartlett1Bartlett’s (left) “Immersive Music” http://www.nathanielbartlett.com/; a guest composer appearance by Steven Dembski of the University of Wisconsin, and others.

The ECU symphony orchestra will perform at the festival again this year, featuring the winner of the fifth annual Orchestra Composition Competition; the premiere of a new work by Edward Jacobs, New Music Festival founder and director; and Mark Glick’s “The Wife of Bath” for Soprano and Orchestra, with guest soloist Karen Hall (orchestral version première).

The festival week will begin with a concert of student compositions—the Premiere Performances Concert.

For additional information about the festival, or to become a festival sponsor, contact: East Carolina University School of Music, 252-328-6851, or Edward Jacobs, NewMusic@ECU Festival Director, NewMusic@ECU.EDU, 252-328-4280.


 
Greater Love on iTunes
Greater Love album cover

ECU Chamber Singers CD Greater Love is now available for purchase on iTunes. Search by Dan Bara or by East Carolina University.

The American Record Guide said of the CD:

“The choral tone is extraordinarily fine: warm, solid, well blended, and superbly disciplined...I am inclined to think that the freshness and purity of sound we hear on this recording can only be obtained from well-trained young voices...There are many fine recordings of the Howells Requiem and Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, but I believe this one can stand with the best of them."

 
Music Therapy brings gamelon to ECU
gamelon

The ECU Music Therapy Program hosted the Music Therapy Association of North Carolina spring meeting April 24, at the ECU School of Music. In attendance were professional and student music therapists from across the state and music educators and world music students from Pitt County and ECU.

A five-hour continuing education workshop was conducted by ECU alumnus Dr. Michael Rohrbacher, director of
music therapy at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.  He brought a large gamelan "orchestra" from Bali, and participants learned to play and understand the role of the gamelan in Balinese society, as well as make applications to therapeutic and educational environments.

A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of
instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. A gamelan is a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together.
 
Dr. Barbara Memory, director of music therapy at ECU, coordinated the meeting and workshop.


 
Jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon to headline
Billy Taylor Jazz Festival in Greenville
 (03/1/09)
Again this year, the East Carolina University School of Music Jazz Studies Program brings a world-class jazz performer to Greenville for the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival on April 16-17.

Award-winning and multiple Grammy-nominated North Carolina vocalist Nnenna Freelon headlines this year’s event. Freelon has been awarded the Eubie Blake Award from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and the Billie Holiday Award from the Academie du Jazz. Freelon performed a film soundtrack for “The Visit,” starring Billy Dee Williams, remaking Frank Sinatra's classic "Fly Me to the Moon.”
She also had a cameo as a nightclub singer in the 2001 blockbuster Mel Gibson romantic comedy “What Women Want,” performing her trademark song "If I Had You.” In addition, she has been nominated twice for the “Soul Train” Lady of Soul award. On February 21, 2001, Freelon earned a rousing standing ovation for her stunning live performance at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards telecast in Los Angeles, performing “Straighten Up And Fly Right.”

Dr. Billy Taylor—house pianist at Birdland, arts correspondent for CBS News “Sunday Morning,” artistic advisor for jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, and 23 honorary doctoral degrees—is a national treasure, Greenville’s native son and the festival’s namesake.

Schedule here.
 
The ECU music therapists will be hosting the Music Therapy Association
(3/24/09)

The ECU music therapists will be hosting the Music Therapy Association of North Carolina on April 24, 2009.  Dr. Michael Rohrbacher from Shenandoah University will be the guest clinician on "The Art of Playing Gamelons."

Dr. Michelle J. Hairston, MT-BC
Prof. & Chair, Music Education & Music Therapy Dept.
East Carolina University
Past President, American Music Therapy Association
Greenville, NC 27858
252-328-4871
hairstonm@ecu.edu
 
ECU Trumpet Ensemble Wins Fourth Place at National Trumpet Competition (3/13/08)
ECU Trumpet EnsembleDuring Spring Break, the ECU Trumpet Ensemble competed in the national Trumpet Competition in Fairfax, VA.  There were 27 groups accepted into the semifinal round.  After the first round on Thursday, ECU was invited to participate as one of five finalists later in the evening, outplaying such schools as Juilliard School, Indiana University, and Boston University. They were awarded fourth place and received a check for $1,500.

The students involved include Alex Jackson, John Maye, Robert Goodwin, James Old and Chris Neverve (pictured above). They performed Ronald Lo Presti's three-movement Suite by memory. Several professors at the competition said it was the finest performance of that piece they had ever heard.  The ECU Trumpet Ensemble is coached by Professor Britton Theurer.

 
ECU Student wins prize in National Vocal Competition (3/3/08)
Gary Harwell, a Senior Vocal Performance major was recently awarded fourth place, and the Nora Sands Encouragement Award at the 13th annual Orpheus National Vocal Competition, held at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Harwell competed against over 100 other singers in three rounds of the competition. Following a preliminary round where contestants submit recordings to a panel of judges, Harwell was invited to travel to Tennessee for the competition’s semi-final round on March 1, 2008. His performances of Schubert’s Ganymed, and Korngold’s Pierrot’s Tanzlied earned him a spot in the final round, where he competed against six other singers. He offered Poulenc’s Sanglots, and Fauré’s Hostias for the final round of the competition. Other finalists in Harwell’s category included graduate students from Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, and Indiana University.

Gary is a native of Wendell, North Carolina. He is the voice student of John Kramar at ECU, where he has performed the title role in their recent production of Sweeney Todd, as well as leading roles in The Magic Flute, Curlew River, and Gianni Schicchi. He plans to attend the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria this summer for further studies in opera and art song.

 
John Wustman named Distinguished Professor for 2008-09 (2/4/08)
John WustmanThe School of Music is delighted to announce that John Wustman "dean of American accompanists" has been named the Robert L. Jones Distinguished Professor of Music for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Professor Wustman's biography reads like veritable history of singers and singing.  After becoming affiliated with Robert Shaw his long and illustrious career took off.  He has appeared in the leading concert halls on five continents with some of the world’s greatest singers; including Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Birgit Nilsson, Régine Crespin, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti and a host of others.  Leading highlights in an already brilliant career include a series of televised recitals with Mr. Pavarotti, including the first recital from the Metropolitan Opera House in 1978.

For more information contact Chair of the Vocal Studies Department via e-mail: Professor Sharon Munden.

 
 
Chamber Singers Releases First CD (11/1/07)
The ECU Chamber Singers, under the direction of Daniel Bara, has recorded their first professional compact disc recording in collaboration with international concert organist and ECU organ professor, Janette Fishell. The project was produced and is now being internationally distributed on the Gothic recording label and in the Gothic Catalog: Choral and Organ Recordings of Distinction.  The recording features primarily twentieth-century sacred English works for chorus, and chorus & organ-music dear to the hearts of Fishell and Bara.  These works of Britten, Howells, Tippet, Ireland, Pearsall, and Wilbye were first performed live by the Chamber Singers, Bara and Fishell at the 2007 Religious Arts Festival Opening Concert in January of 2007.  After traveling to Miami in March for a featured performance at the American Choral Directors Association's National Convention, the Chamber Singers returned to Greenville for two days of recording in May.

The recording was made at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Greenville, home of the Fisk pipe organ Op. 126, and the primary instructional instrument for ECU Organ Majors.

 
Acclaimed Vibraphonist Arthur Lipner performs at ECU (2/2/07)
Arthur Lipner, vibraphonistOn February 1, acclaimed vibraphonist Arthur Lipner--one of the most talented marimba and vibes voices performing today--performed the world premiere of Hybridisation, a sound sculpture for Vibraphone/Marimba soloist and percussion ensemble. The performance took place in A. J. Fletcher Recital Hall with the ECU Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Wacker. Included on the program was the Greenville Children's Choir under the direction of Paul Flowers.

On Friday, February 2, Lipner performed with the ECU Jazz Ensemble A under the direction of Carroll V. Dashiell Jr. Joining the ensemble are ECU jazz faculty members Jeff Bair, saxophone; George Broussard, trombone; Ernest Turner, piano; and Jonathan Wacker, percussion. Also on the program is the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, under the baton of Scott Carter. The performance was offered as a part of the All-East Band Festival.

For more information on Arthur Lipner, visit his web site at www.arthurlipner.com.
 
Jazz Vocalist Vanessa Rubin performs at ECU (11/28/06)
Vanessa RubinA frequent jazz performer worldwide, and just coming off two performances at "The Half Note" in Athens, Greece, the renowned vocalist, composer, producer, and clinician Vanessa Rubin provided a jazz vocal clinic and performed with the ECU jazz faculty during the recent Jazz Ensembles concert on Friday, December 1 at 7:00 PM in Wright Auditorium on the ECU campus.

The list of great musicians who have graced Rubins recordings and bandstands is quite impressive: Monty Alexander, Cecil Bridgewater, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, Billy Higgins, Etta Jones, Lewis Nash, Houston Person, Toots Thielemans, Steve Turre, Cedar Walton, Grover Washington, Jr., and James Williams are just a few of the masters who’ have lent their skills to support Ms. Rubin’s artistry. More recently she has completed auspicious global tours with Herbie Hancock, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Jazz Crusaders.

After teaching for a number of years, Rubin headed to New York City in 1982 and landed early gigs with the likes of
Kenny Barron, Pharoah Sanders, Lionel Hampton, and the Mercer Ellington Orchestra. Since then, she has performed countless performances and recorded and released numerous CDs on Telarc and RCA/Novus labels. Visit Rubin's web site for more information and audio samples from each of her seven albums.

Links:  Vanessa Rubin Official Web Site

 
Chamber Singers heads to "World Series" of Choral Events (10/31/06)
The American Choral Directors Association’s national convention attracts between 10,000 and 15,000 conductors, singers, teachers and church musicians from across the country, and features a collection of the nation’s best choirs. The conference is so well attended that attendees are divided into more than one schedule. Each concert, interest session and lecture is offered in triplicate, as no convention center or performance hall can hold the multitude that throngs to the annual event.

East Carolina University’s Chamber Singers were selected to perform at this convention. A national committee reviewed more than 300 audition CDs in a blind process, selecting 32 choirs in a variety of categories from across the country to perform. “These choirs tend to be the cream of the crop at the convention,” Bara says. “To my knowledge, this is the first time an ECU choral ensemble has received national level attention, and perhaps the first time that any ECU musical ensemble has been invited to a national level event that was juried.”

The ACDA appearance falls on the heels of having been invited to perform for the Southern Division ACDA last spring. East Carolina’s was the only North Carolina choir invited to that event. “This is our Rose Bowl, our trip to the College World Series,” Bara says.

Links: ACDA National web site || ASTA National Convention || NC-ASTA web site ||