The Sewanee Community Chest is proud to support the Sewanee Chorale! They are celebrating their 52nd year.
Each Monday evening, room 220 in Guerry Hall (aka, the choir room) is a beehive of musical activity with members of the Sewanee Chorale working to place finishing touches on the repertoire for their spring performance. As the date draws near, the room grows ever more crowded with guest musicians arriving to rehearse their part in the concert.
A quartet from the University Choir will join the Chorale in performing ”Agnus Dei” from Mozart’s Coronation Mass. The quartet includes soprano Caitlin Berends, C’20, from Grand Rapids, Mich.; alto Anna Burklin, C’18, from Nashville, Tenn.; tenor Will Burton-Edwards, C’18, of Columbus, Ga.; and bass Christian Braden, C’21, of Lewisville, Tenn. Burton-Edwards, working toward a double major in theatre and physics, will also sing solo sections in other pieces. He said, “I’m looking forward to joining musicians from across the community in a fun evening of singing, having sung with the Chorale in their fall performance.” Braden, a freshman, is expanding his choral experience with this first performance with the Chorale. Berends and Burklin also have other solos in the program beyond the Mozart and are regular members of the ensemble. The concert, “Singing Through History,” is a collection of pieces from the 1600s through 2011 that were composed for notable events and people.
Singing the soprano solo of the Mozart is Melanie Russell, T’18. She holds a D.M.A in vocal performance from the University of Georgia and has a rich background as a soloist, music director, and conductor. Russell was recently ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and plans to return to the Diocese of Atlanta after graduation this spring.
Caroline Carson T’19, holds a D.M.A in choral conducting from the University of South Carolina and prior to entering the School of Theology was director of choral activities at the University of New Orleans. Caroline assists the Chorale as singer and trainer, and will conduct a movement of the Mozart Coronation Mass as well as some of the small ensemble repertoire.
Jessica Usherwood joined the faculty of the University of the South in 2017 as assistant professor of voice. Usherwood holds a doctorate in music from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in vocal performance and literature. The National Association of Teachers of Singing recently named her as one of seven early-career teachers of singing selected to receive 2018 Emerging Leader Awards. This is her second appearance with the Chorale singing the sublime work of Stephen Paulson, The Road Home.
Currently the organist and choir director of St. Mark’s Church, San Antonio, Texas, Joseph Causby has recently accepted the position of music director at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, N.C. Causby built one of the most active music programs in the country at St. Mark’s, working with the Choral Society of San Antonio, the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Trinity University, and Montessori Schools. More than 120 adults and young people sing in the choirs of St. Mark’s, and they have served residencies in England at Exeter Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, and St. Alban’s Abbey. Causby, who holds a doctorate from the University of Durham, U.K., returns to Sewanee for his third performance with the Chorale, accompanying on piano and organ.
Another recent addition to the Chorale is Trent Whisenant, C’21, of Chatsworth, Ga., who came to the University this semester. Whisenant is serving as rehearsal accompanist and has quickly become popular and appreciated for his excellent keyboard skills.
The Sewanee Chorale celebrates its 52nd year, and fifth performance under the direction of Ruth S. Cobb. Cobb holds a master’s degree in church music (organ and choral conducting) from Northwestern University and a B.Mus. in organ performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
The Chorale rehearses each Monday evening, and are an eclectic group of more than 30 community members, faculty, staff and students. Singers also come from Nashville and Chattanooga. The concert will take place Friday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. in All Saints’ Chapel. The concert is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. Further information regarding the concert will be released in the coming weeks. Questions may be sent to <TheSewaneeChorale@gmail.com>.