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Chowan Community Chorus revived by new Director

By Amanda B. Sharpe
University Relations

MURFREESBORO – After a brief hiatus, the Chowan University Community Chorus will reconvene for the spring 2017 semester.

The Chorus invites singers of high school and adult age of all musical backgrounds from Murfreesboro and surrounding areas, combining these local talents with the talents of the students, faculty, and staff at the University. Chowan Singers, the University’s auditioned student chorus will also be joining in the performance.

The entire experience will culminate in the spring choral concert, titled “An Easter Celebration,” on Sunday, April 23 at Murfreesboro Baptist Church, featuring Antonia Vivaldi’s Gloria– one of the best-known choral masterpieces of the Baroque period.

Dr. Benjamin Thorburn

Dr. Benjamin Thorburn

This year, the Chorus is led by a fairly new Director, Dr. Benjamin Thorburn. He joined the music faculty at Chowan University in August, 2016.

Dr. Thorburn received his BA at the University of Rochester in Music, and his MPhil, MA, and PhD in Music History from Yale University. Prior to joining the Chowan University faculty in August of 2016, Dr. Thorburn taught at Bluefield College in West Virginia for four years. Dr. Thorburn is not only passionate about teaching music to his students though, he too is a singer.

Dr. Thorburn has expressed his sincere joy in working with singers, stating, “I enjoy working with singers of all ages; finding ways of connecting and making history and music come alive.”

He is particularly excited to work with the Chowan Community Chorus for the first time, allowing him to get to know community members.

Dr. Thorburn views the Community Chorus as a great example of community outreach. The Community Chorus provides the community and students the opportunity to make music together; inviting community members into the music department, and the educational experience of Chowan students. The community members are able to perform in ways they may not be able to outside of church. Students are put in touch with adults and a community of people who enjoy making music a part of their everyday life, whether it is a part of their chosen career, or not. He is excited for continued growth and strengthening the link between the campus and community through the arts.

Community members and students will have a chance to perform alongside distinguished faculty, sharing in their love of the art of music. New voice faculty member Dr. Lisa Lowry will be preforming in the Chorus this spring. Dr. Lowry has performed throughout the United States and Canada in operas and musicals. She is experienced in contemporary music and has even been recorded and broadcasted by CBC Radio.

The Chowan University Community Chorus welcomes local singers to join the campus community in combining talents to produce this musical event. Rehearsals begin January 23 (6:30-8 p.m.) in Briley Recital Hall in the lower level of Daniel Hall on the Chowan University campus. Rehearsals are open to community members, faculty, staff, and students. Anyone who is interested may contact Dr. Thorburn by email (bethorburn@chowan.edu) or phone (252-398-1057) for more information.