The Vanguard University Concert Choir had the unique opportunity to work with Dr. Rosephanye and Dr. William Powell in their presentation of the 2016 Spring Concert at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The choir performed two major pieces written by Rosephanye Powell including the premiere of “The Gospel Trinity” preceded by “The Cry of Jeremiah.”
The Cry of Jeremiah is a four-movement work originally commissioned for the 2012 American Guild of Organists convention. It is based textually on the 20th chapter of Jeremiah and outlines the struggle of Jeremiah throughout his prophetic calling. The verses referenced throughout the piece are Jeremiah 20:7-9, Jeremiah 20:14-18, and Jeremiah 20:11-13. The prophet Jeremiah, having experienced ridicule and imprisonment because of his prophecies, laments his present state.
“The Gospel Trinity” is a musical expression of one of the primary tenets of Christian Theology written by Rosephanye Powell. It was directed by Dr. Ed Willmington. It gave musical representation to the three parts of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The concert was sponsored by Dr. Ed Willmington and the Fred Bock Institute of Music, Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Dr. Rosephanye Dunn Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. She has an impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation’s leading publishers, including the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Fred Bock Music Company/Gentry Publications, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music Publications, and Shawnee. Dr. Powell is commissioned yearly to compose for university choruses, professional, community and church choirs, as well as secondary school choruses. Dr. Powell’s works have been conducted and premiered by nationally-renowned choral conductors, including, but not limited to, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle, Bob Chilcott, Rodney Eichenberger, Tom Hall, Albert McNeil, Tim Seelig, André Thomas and Judith Willoughby. Her work has been auctioned by Chorus America and her compositions are in great demand at choral festivals around the country, frequently appearing on the regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as Honor Choir festivals. Dr. Powell’s compositions include sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women’s chorus, men’s chorus, and children’s voices. Dr. Powell serves as Professor of Voice at Auburn University. She holds degrees from The Florida State University (D.M. in vocal performance, University Fellow), Westminster Choir College (M.M. in vocal performance and pedagogy, with distinction), and Alabama State University (B.M.E., summa cum laude). Dr. Powell served on the faculties of Philander Smith College (AR) and Georgia Southern University prior to Auburn University.
Dr. William C. Powell, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, holds degrees from Alabama State University (B.M.E.), Westminster Choir College (M.M.E.), and Florida State University (Ph.D.). Prior to his arrival at Auburn University in 2001 as assistant director of choral activities, he was director of choral activities at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1993-2001. At Auburn, Powell conducts the Chamber, Concert, Gospel and Men’s Choirs, and teaches choral-related undergraduate, graduate, and distance courses. Powell is in demand as a choral conductor. In 2013, he will serve as a conductor and workshop clinician for the Melbourne International Singers Festival in Melbourne, Australia. And in 2014, the Auburn University Choirs will be presented in the New York premier of The Cry of Jeremiah by Rosephanye Powell (who will also serve as composer in residence and narrator) with William Powell as guest conductor.
Dr. Edwin (Ed) M. Willmington (D.M.A.) is the Director of the Fred Bock Institute of Music, Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he also holds the title of Composer-in-Residence. He served as Pastor of Worship and Arts at Scottsdale Bible Church in Arizona for 22 years, where his leadership influenced and trained several generations of worship leaders. Ed has also taught at Point Loma Nazarene University, served on a hymnal advisory board, and been the recipient of ASCAP awards for his compositional works. Some of his recent compositions include the commissioned work, Jubilate! An Ancient-Future Concert Mass, and Reconciled in Christ, music for the Lausanne Congress gathering in Cape Town, South Africa. Ed’s desire is to challenge and equip musical artists and worship leaders to creatively use their gifts for the worship of God.
Dr. James L. Melton is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Vanguard University. In addition to teaching in the areas of music education, worship, and conducting, he directs the 72-voice University Concert Choir and the Vanguard Singers & Band, a select ensemble of 24 vocalists and instrumentalists. Both these ensembles present concerts throughout the western United States, and tour each year both nationally and internationally, most recently in Western Europe and the People’s Republic of China. As a guest conductor for festival choirs & orchestras in New York City, he has conducted Vivaldi’s Gloria, G.F. Händel’s Coronation Anthems, and Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42 for Carnegie Hall and Schubert’s Mass in G and the premiere of contemporary composer Dan Forrest’s Te Deum at the Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall). The VU Concert Choir has presented command choral performances at both the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and has often been featured on past national and international telecasts of the “Hour of Power”. His various ensembles have 15 recording projects to their credit.