UMES Choir Performs Spring Concert
As inspiring and rejuvenating as the arrival of spring, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Sheila McDonald Harleston presents its annual spring concert on Sunday, April 11, at 4 p.m. with a guest performance by soprano soloist Patricia Nixon of Norfolk Sate University.
Nixon, who was invited by Dr. Thelma B. Thompson to perform at her inauguration as president of UMES in 2002 and for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s visit to the campus said, “I have had some great experiences performing at UMES. I enjoy coming to the campus and feel at home there. The NSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble enjoyed the performances that they have done with Dr. Harleston’s group. She has my highest regard for her work since she has been at the university and our friendship grows stronger each year.”
Nixon will perform among others, “The Statue of Liberty” by Neil Enloe and “Beams of Heaven” arranged by Robert Winder. She has been a vocal instructor at NSU since 2002 and became the NSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble director in 2003. She has taught voice and piano in the Junior Music Program and Summer Clinic there since 1987. Nixon has performed with the Virginia Opera Association, the Virginia Symphony, The Chesapeake Chorus and the I. Sherman Green Chorale. She was the recent recipient of the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics Award under the category of Vocal Classical Performance.
Harleston, an associate professor of music and director of choral activities at UMES, has received many accolades at the university along with being selected as the recipient of the 2008 University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for mentoring. Harleston also served as a national conductor for the 2009 performance of the “105 Voices of History” at the Kennedy Center in New York.
The 38-member Concert Choir will fill the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts with the sounds of composers Undine Smith Moore, Nathaniel Dett, Rosephanye Powell, Brent Pierce, Michael Jothen, Eugene Butler, Rene Clausen, Noah Ryder, Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen, Salone Clary, Harry Burleigh and Moses Hogan. Special features are Hailstork’s Festival Anthem “Shout for Joy” and Hogan’s tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, “His Light Still Shines.”
The choir consists of a unique group of students encompassing 12 academic disciplines, 10 states and three foreign countries. Serving as ambassadors for the university, they have taken the stage at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France; the Washington National Cathedral; and the United Nations “Zeus Area.”
At the culmination of the academic year, the choir traditionally takes a trip abroad to perform. This year the choir will in St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands. In past years, they have performed in Hawaii, Trinidad, England, Jamaica, Bahamas, France, Germany and the West Indies.
The UMES Concert Choir Spring Concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-651-6574.
Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, email@example.com.