The return of an in-person concert at the King Concert Hall featuring three student ensembles at SUNY Fredonia will highlight the School of Music’s 11th Annual Choral Festival on Saturday, February 19 at 4 p.m.
The Chamber Choir, conducted by Associate Professor Vernon Huff; College Choir, led by Assistant Professor Adam Luebke; and Camerata, led by speaker Brent Weber, will perform in the concert open to the public.
Community members can purchase tickets in advance for $8 at Fredonia ticket office at the Williams Center. Tickets for Fredonia students are free if picked up in advance at the box office or cost $2 at the door.
The festival’s guest clinician will be Dr. Andrew Megill, who is considered one of the leading conductors of his generation, admired for his passionate artistry as well as an exceptionally wide repertoire that ranges from early music to newly composed works. He will lead every Fredonia ensemble in a selection as well as Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” which features the combined choirs.
Dr. Megill is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Conducting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also conducts three of North America’s finest vocal ensembles: the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Choir , the Carmel Bach Festival Choir and Fuma Sacra, an acclaimed chamber choir. who specializes in Renaissance and Baroque music.
“This year we really wanted to bring in a highly respected collegiate choir director, and there is no one more respected in the profession than Andrew Megill,” said Dr. Huff, Director of Choral Activities. “He comes from the University of Illinois, which was the first school in the nation to award a doctorate in choral conducting, so there’s a huge legacy there.”
“This year we really wanted to bring in a highly respected collegiate conductor, and there is no one more respected in the profession than Andrew Megill.” – Dr. Vernon Huff
Megill, a Johann Sebastian Bach scholar who has conducted Bach festivals at the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and in Ireland at the Dublin Institute of Technology, will work with the College Choir on a piece by Bach .
The future of choral conducting will be the focus of a roundtable that Megill will host with music education students. “He will talk about his life experiences and their life experiences and their career paths, their paths and what they would like to do,” Dr. Huff explained. Megill will also give a master class in orchestral conducting with graduate student Erin Alexander.
Megill has prepared choirs for the American Composers’ Orchestra, American Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic Orchestra, among other orchestras. His academic credentials include an DMA in Choral Conducting from Rutgers University, an MM in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a BM in Theory and Composition from the University of New Mexico.
Fredonia’s connection to Megill was forged by Dr Luebke, a former student of Megill in the postgraduate program in choral conducting at Westminster Choir College.
The concert is sponsored in part by the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities, established through the Fredonia College Foundation, and the Fredonia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. The festival took place virtually last year due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.