News & Events
Choral Festival Scheduled for February 4 & 5
Due to inclement weather predicted for the area, Friday’s schedule has been revised
- 11am – Lunch – Pittman Dining Hall
- 12noon – Registration – Moore Fine Arts Building
- 12:45-5:45 – First Rehearsal – Moore Auditorium
The 63rd Annual J. Elwood Roberts – Mars Hill College Choral Festival will take place on the college campus February 4 and 5, 2011. Dr. Jonathan Reed of Michigan State University will be the guest director. Approximately 325 auditioned high school singers from 100 schools will participate in the Festival Choir.
The closing concert will be on Saturday, February 5, 2011 beginning at 4:00. The College Choir and Chamber Singers will open the concert followed by a combined number with the college groups and the Festival Choir participating. The concert will close with the Festival Choir. There is no admission charge for the concert.
The J. Elwood Roberts – Mars Hill College Choral Festival was established in 1949 by the late J. Elwood Roberts as an effort to improve choral music in the high schools of western North Carolina. While in the beginning the “clinic” was comprised of about fifteen schools in the closely-surrounding area, this annual event has grown into one of the premiere choral festivals in North Carolina and, as far as is known, is the longest, continuously-running festival of its type in the southeast. Each year over 800 students from approximately 100 high schools audition for the Festival Choir.
In the early years students were selected by their directors to sing in the choral clinic. Quite often, a double quartet from each high school would participate. As the event continued to grow, reaching a size of 400 non-auditioned singers, it was decided that a better format would be to reduce the size to approximately 300 voices and have the singers audition at selected high school sites. This practice was put into effect for the clinic of 1970. After their selection the singers prepare the music and attend one of seven zone rehearsals held in January. With the help of high school zone coordinators this practice has proven very effective.
Guest conductors have included some of the most prominent choral musicians in the United States. This year’s conductor, Dr. Jonathan Reed, is professor of music and associate director of choral programs at the Michigan State University College of Music. He also conducts the State Singers, the Men’s Glee Club, and teaches Ensemble Conducting and Secondary Choral Methods. During the summer, Reed teaches graduate courses in Choral Conducting and Choral Methods. In addition, he supervises the directed teaching experiences of undergraduate choral education majors. In 1999, the Associated Students of MSU presented him with the “Outstanding Faculty Award.” Reed also enjoys an active professional status as an adjudicator and clinician, conducting festivals and all-state choruses throughout the United States.
J. Elwood Roberts came to Mars Hill College in 1944. He served the music department in several capacities, most notably as an instructor in music theory. He also directed the choir at Mars Hill Baptist Church. Mr. Roberts died in 1966.
For more information call 828-689-1209.