Lenoir Community College and the Community Council for the Arts will present George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," under the direction of LCC Music Program Chair Carolyn Crossland, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Waller Building auditorium. Tickets are $5 general admission. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Prior to the doors opening, TAPS (Traditional Arts Programs for Students) will TAPS will play jazz selections from 6:45 – 7:15 p.m. in the atrium. Participating students are from the middle and senior high schools through the county. The program is under the direction of Charles Richberg, retired Kinston High band/music teacher and Jennifer Sinclair, Woodington Middle School band/music teacher. While there are 17 TAPS programs in the state, the CCA sponsored program is the only one of its kind.
Accompanying the 75-member Messiah mass choir is a 15-member chamber orchestra from the North Carolina Symphony. Justin Sturz of East Carolina University is the accompanying pianist for the production. He holds undergraduate degrees in English and organ performance (magna cum laude) from ECU.
Featured soloists are lyric tenor David Hursh, soprano Peggy Vaughan, bass Joel Gay, and alto Jami Rhodes.
Joel Gay will be performing “Thus Saith the Lord of Hosts,” “But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming,” “For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth,” and “The People That Walked in Darkness Have Seen A Great Light.”
This will be Gay’s ninth performance as bass soloist with the LCC/CCA production of “Messiah.” He is a singer and choral conductor living in the Wilson area. He and his wife, Jennifer, work together as the music ministers at the First United Methodist Church in Wilson, where he conducts a community youth choir called the Spirit Singers, and also oversees the handbell and contemporary worship ministries.
He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, where he studied with Wayne Kompelein. He completed his graduate studies at East Carolina University with a Masters degree in choral conducting and voice performance.
While at East Carolina he studied with John Kramar and Daniel Bara. He has performed as a soloist throughout Eastern North Carolina, most recently with the Crystal Coast Choral Society, the East Carolina University Religious Arts Festival, and annually at Lenoir Community College. Besides singing, he enjoys playing with his two boys, Billy and Michael, and traveling.
David Hursh will perform the aria, "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" and "Comfort Ye My People.” He is an associate professor and Head Music Librarian at East Carolina University in Greenville, where he is responsible for the daily operation of the largest collection of music recordings, scores, and books in the eastern North Carolina region. He earned a Master of Science in Library Science from Florida State University, a Master of Music in Voice Performance from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Houghton College in Houghton, NY.
He is the recipient of a number of research grants and honors including the Music Library Association’s Walter Gerboth and Dena Epstein awards, and the North Carolina Society’s Davis Fellowship. His 2009 book Good Medicine and Good Music: A Biography of Mrs. Joe Person received the North Carolina Society of Historians’ Peace History Book Award. Musically, he has performed in LCC’s “Broadway and Beyond,” and appears regularly as a tenor soloist in regional concerts and services. This will be his 10th appearance as lyric tenor soloist for Lenoir Community College/CCA annual performance of “Messiah.”
Her fourth appearance, Peggy Overton Vaughan will perform “And Lo! The Angel of the Lord,” “And Suddenly, There Was with the Angel,” “ There Were Shepherds,” “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion,” and “Come Unto Him.”
Vaughan, the Music Director at Peace Presbyterian Church in Winterville, is also the Choral Director at Roseleaf Academy in Farmville. She currently maintains a voice studio in Greenville, and formerly served as the General Music Teacher and Choral Director at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston. An active soloist, she has performed with the Virginia Choral Society, the Greenville Choral Society, the Hickory Choral Society and Symphony, the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, the East Carolina University Opera Theatre, and the East Carolina Religious Arts Festival.
She has served as the soloist for performances of Mozart’s “Coronation Mass,” “Requiem,” “Mass in C,” “Regina Coeli,” Faure’s “Requiem,” Poulenc’s “Gloria,” and Handel’s “Messiah.” Her most recent operatic appearances have included the role of Lady Billows in Britten’s “Albert Herring” and Aminta in Mozart’s “Il Re Pastore.” She is an active member of the Greenville Choral Society’s Adult Chorus, and a past member of their Chamber Chorale. She received both her Bachelor of Music and her Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Meredith College.
Jami Rhodes will be performing She will be performing “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion,” “Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened,” and “He Shall Feed His Flock.”
A native of North Carolina, mezzo-soprano Jami Rhodes is an active performer in a variety of genres. Most frequently seen on the operatic stage, she holds a number of favorite roles to her credit includingRosina in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,”Dorabella in “Cosi fan Tutte,” Baba in “The Medium,” Madame de Croissy in “Dialogues of theCarmelites,” Jo in “Little Women,” Charlotte in “Werther,” Lucretia in “The Rape ofLucretia,” Florence Pike in “Albert Herring,” The Old Lady in “Candide,” and the title role in Bizet’s “Carmen.”
She has been a winner in the Orpheus National Vocal Competition and a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has sung with Des Moines Metro Opera, Nashville Opera, Central City Opera, Lake George Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, the Ohio Light Opera, the Greenville Choral Society, the Louisiana Sinfonietta, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Austin Symphony. Also a frequent of the concert stage, she has been heard as mezzo-soprano soloist in a number of works including Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9”, Verdi’s “Requiem,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” and Schoenberg’s “Pierrot lunaire.” Her recording of Dinos Constantinides’ “Marche deGalvez” with the Louisiana Sinfonietta and the Schola Cantorum was released by Centaur Records in February of 2008.
Praised for her “impeccable comic timing” and “lovable and unique” characterizations, she is also active in operetta. Her portrayal of the Baroness von Krakenfeldt can be heard on the Ohio Light Opera’s recording of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Grand Duke” released by Albany Records in 2003. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from Louisiana State University, as well as a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Music in music education from East Carolina University.
Also an active educator, she has maintained a private voice and piano studio for more than 10 years, taught in the NC public school system, served on the faculties of the New York State Summer School for the Arts (NYSSSA) and James Sprunt Community College, and is currently Assistant Professor of Voice at East Carolina University. She is a full active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). This will be Rhodes’ third appearance in LCC/CCA performance of Messiah.
Justin Sturz is a musician from Greenville who will be making his 11th appearance as rehearsal accompanist and performance pianist for “Messiah.” In addition to his freelance work, he is also the organist/pianist at the First Baptist Church in Farmville and the pianist for St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Greenville.
He holds undergraduate degrees in English and Organ Performance from East Carolina University. Both degrees were earned Magna Cum Laude. While earning his degree in music, Justin participated in two organ competitions.
He placed second in the Music Teachers' National Association-Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist National Organ Competition (1993) and third in the National Undergraduate Organ Competition held annually at the First Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa, Iowa (1995). He is known throughout eastern North Carolina for his accompanying skills and his performances on both the piano and the organ. He holds undergraduate degrees in English and Organ Performance from East Carolina University. Both degrees were earned Magna Cum Laude.
While earning his degree in music, Sturz participated in two organ competitions. He placed second in the Music Teachers' National Association-Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist National Organ Competition (1993) and third in the National Undergraduate Organ Competition held annually at the First Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa, Iowa(1995).
He is known throughout eastern North Carolina for his accompanying skills and his performances on both the piano and the organ. He has two recording, “Songs of Faith On the Grand Piano” and “Inspirational Favorites.”
Musical Director Carolyn Crossland joined the LCC faculty in 1992. She is the Program Chair of Music at LCC. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Campbell University and Masters of Music degree from ECU. She has studied at the Royal School of Church Music in London, England; the Italian Organ Academy in Pistoia, Italy; the Classical Music Seminar in Eisenstadt, Austria; and Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.
Previous work experience includes positions on the music faculty at ECU and Mount Olive College, Choirmaster/Organist at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Raleigh, and Minister of Music at Westminster United Methodist Church in Kinston. Listed in the International Who's Who in Music and Who's Who in Business and Professional Women, she has received numerous awards including Distinguished Leadership Award in the Teaching Profession, LCC President’s Award for Service and Innovation, International Paragon Award and the 2002 Teaching Excellence Award at LCC. She is member of the American Choral Directors Association, Hymn Society of America, National Pastoral Musicians, American Guild of Organists, Royal School of Church Music, and Conductor’s Guild.
Handel, a master of Italian opera and English oratorio, was born in 1685, one month before J.S. Bach, in Germany. He was not from a musical family, but by age 9 his musical talent was outstanding.
After becoming an English citizen, Handel became England's most important composer and a favorite of Queen Anne.
His oratorios were usually based on stories from the Old Testament. Most have plots, but were performed without acting, scenery or costumes.
"Messiah," composed in only 24 days, deals with a New Testament subject and has no plot, but follows the life of Christ. Only Part One, commonly known as the Christmas portion, is being performed at LCC. It begins with the prophecy of the Messiah's coming and makes celestial announcements of Christ's birth and the redemption of humanity through his appearance.
Charles Jennings, a millionaire and amateur literary man, compiled the text by taking widely separate passages from the Bible - Isaiah, Psalms, and Job from the Old Testament; Luke, I Corinthians and the Book of Revelations from the New Testament.