Samford’s A Cappella Choir is performing at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Southern Regional Conference February 23-26 in Raleigh, N.C. This is the third appearance for the Samford A Cappella Choir at this conference and the second under the direction of Philip Copeland.
Only a handful of university and college choirs are offered spots to perform at the ACDA four regional and one national conferences. Samford’s choir auditioned for the spot last spring and is one of 18 schools represented at the Southern Regional Conference.
The A Cappella Choir is a young group according to Copeland. “This year, the choir is dominated by large numbers of freshmen and sophomores. Out of the 47 students, 25 are underclassmen that have never performed in a major concert like this,” said Copeland but he has full confidence in the members.
“We recruit an advanced musician for the A Cappella Choir and then they are trained by our outstanding music faculty,” said Copeland. “These students are some of the best young musicians that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”
Samford’s repertoire selections seek to develop the ACDA conference theme of “Tune Our Hearts.” The first work is a collaboration of two current Samford A Cappella Choir members: Blake Mitchell, the composer, sings Tenor 1 and Margaret Kirby, the poet, sings Soprano 1. Their work is a clear message of hope, love, and joy.
The rest of the program is a response to the question “How do we tune our hearts in these challenging days?” Our answer: with a sense of God’s holy presence (Duo Seraphim, by Latvian composer Rihards Dubra), a renewed faith (Credo, by Frank Martin), love (Marie by Poulenc); I am here with you always (Alcala)) and profound joy (Tuttarana).
The Samford University A Cappella Choir was founded in 1939 and serves as the flagship choral ensemble at Samford University. Under the direction of Philip L. Copeland, the choir has received invitations to perform most recently at the National Collegiate Choral Organization in 2013 and the 2018 Southern Regional Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Louisville, KY. The choir travels internationally every two years and frequently participates in international choral competitions, sweeping all of the top awards at the 2018 Laurea Mundi competition in Budapest, Hungary and the 2016 ŠIAULIAI CANTAT in Lithuania. For the past eleven years, the choir’s campus performances have been centered around a monthly service of Vespers, a worship event that formally combines Samford University’s sacred spaces and Christian mission.